As news broke Friday that former British spy Sergei Skripal was no longer in critical condition, the Trump Administration announced they were issuing sanctions against 7 Russian oligarchs and 12 of their companies, 17 senior Russian government officials, a state-owned weapons trading company and a subsidiary bank related to that weapons company.
In all, there were 38 entities sanctioned, some of them quite prominent. The bigger names include Oleg Deripaska, a well-known Russian oligarch and energy tycoon; Kirill Shamalov, husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina, who became a billionaire not long after his marriage through connections in the energy sector; Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of state-owned energy company Gazprom; and Rosoboroneksport, a weapons trading company with strong ties to the Syrian government.
NPR has a full listing of the entities sanctioned from a release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
While the poisoning of Skripal in March while on a shopping trip in the English town of Salisbury was listed as one of the reasons for the new sanctions, senior administration officials were careful Friday to state that the reasons for the new U.S. action were myriad.
The new sanctions are “not in response to any single event,” a senior administration official said. Rather, they are “in response to the totality of the Russian government’s ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activities across the world.”
Specifically, administration officials called attention to aggressive Russian actions in annexing Crimea, their support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and — “most importantly” — Russia’s continued attempts to subvert western democracies.
As to the sanctioning of the oligarchs, a senior administration official noted that “the elites are not immune to accountability for the actions of the Russian government.”
“Actions have consequences,” the official said. The U.S sanctions are “the result of a decision that the Russian government has made and continues to make in choosing a path of confrontation,” he added.
Administration officials were clear that the actions taken by the U.S. Friday were not “aimed at the Russian people” and that the door remains open to communication. However, they stressed that Russia must engage in improved behavior on the world stage before the U.S. can attain President Trump’s goal of developing a better relationship with Russia.
Friday’s announcement brings the number of sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Russian individuals and entities to 189.