Russian oligarchs could be sanctioned by the United States this week for interfering in the U.S. elections held in 2016, according to sources who are close to the matter. The statement was made on Wednesday, as Moscow could be the target of one of the most aggressive sanctions, against the Kremlin so far.
Russia has been blamed by the Washington repeatedly for meddling in the elections of 2016, as people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, are said to be affected by the planned sanctions. President Donald Trump, however, has been keen on improved relations with Russia, as they continue to deny the allegations.
Russia has not been punished by Trump for the interference and has thus, been criticized for not taking action. The president himself is the focus of an investigations being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into allegations that Trump teamed up with Russians to influence the elections, something which he has denied.
Only recently, 19 people and five entities were sanctioned by the U.S., with the decision announced on March the 15th and involving Russian intelligence services. The sanctions were a result of cyber-attacks that occurred in the period of previous two years and are set to be followed by further ones, which will be announced on Thursday, according to two sources close to the matter.
Lawmakers from both parties in the U.S. have been critical of Trump not taking action against the Kremlin, as he did not target government officials that were close to Putin. The recent sanctions were the only noteworthy actions them, since Trump took his post as president of the country last year.
According to two U.S. officials, which have been briefed on the sanctions, the move set to be announced this week, will include officials that have connections to Putin, as well as the Russian government.
Republicans, along with the Democrats, have passed an act called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, also known as CAATSA, and seek to punish Russia under sanctions imposed under the act, four sources have claimed. The sanctions will be for Russia’s meddling in the president elections of 2016, their involvement in the civil war in Syria, as well as annexing Crimea from Ukraine back in the year 2014.
Russia has been blamed for an attack on the 4th of March, on a former double agent of theirs who was living in Britain. The accusations were denied by them but they led to their deterioration of relations with the United States, as plans to extradite more than 100 Russian diplomats in response, were announced on March 26 by U.S. and several other countries in Europe.
No comments were given on the sanctions by the Treasury and the White House. According to a senior U.S. official who was questioned on the issue, efforts to implement the CAATSA law were applied by the administration. He went on to add that they did not have anything particular to announce at this time, but action against them will be taken quickly indeed.