U.S. sanctions Russia for 2016 election interference and other cyber activity

The US government takes action against Russia

(According to this) The Trump administration on Thursday sanctioned a number of Russian entities for a wide range of behavior that U.S. officials say has sought to disrupt Western governments — including the attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Among the five entities sanctioned by the Treasury Department Thursday is the Internet Research Agency, which was indicted by a grand jury last month as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian efforts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new round of sanctions shows that the Trump administration is “confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure.”

Also cited in the sanctions: the February NotPetya cyber-attack, which affected hospitals and disrupted shipping and has been attributed to the Russian military.

The sanctions freeze any assets of the Russian agents held in U.S. dollars, and block U.S. citizens from engaging in business with them.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in the southern English town of Salisbury earlier this month. The attack had all the fingerprints of a Russian spy operation, especially in its use of a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia and banned by an international treaty on chemical weapons.

“We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility,” the four allied countries said in the joint statement. “We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury.”

Earlier this week, the White House pointedly declined to finger Russia for the attack. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Raj Shah took a step further, saying it appeared that “Russia did commit this act based on all the evidence that Britain has available.”