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Iran Press TV

US imposes fresh sanctions on Russia for global 'malign activities'

Iran Press TV

Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:40PM

The United States has imposed new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities over what it calls their "malign activities" around the world.

The US Treasury Department said on Wednesday the sanctions target 15 members of a Russian military intelligence service and four entities.

The Treasury accused them of interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, hacking the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Moscow has repeatedly dismissed any meddling in the US elections as unsubstantiated.

"Treasury is sanctioning Russian intelligence operatives involved in cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 election and a wide range of other malign activities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"We are taking action against operatives working on behalf of a sanctioned oligarch, hacking the World Anti-Doping Agency and other international organizations, and engaging in other subversive actions," he added.

"The United States will continue to work with international allies and partners to take collective action to deter and defend against sustained malign activity by Russia, its proxies, and intelligence agencies," he continued.

Michael Dobson, who worked on sanctions policy toward Russia at OFAC, said, "The administration hasn't taken its eye off the Russian intelligence service and the role they play in malign activities around the world."

"I think it's definitely a strong action," he stated.

Last month, the United States slapped additional sanctions on Russian individuals and a company over Crimea's re-integration with Russia in 2014.

The US government has also sanctioned Russian companies for shipping oil to Syria which is fighting terrorist groups, mostly backed by the West and its allies in the Middle East.

This is while the Kremlin has warned the US against imposing any new sanctions on Russia, saying such a move will "further complicate" bilateral ties.

Ties between the Kremlin and the White House have fallen to a new low under US President Donald Trump.

US intelligence services have accused Russia of cyber interference in America's democratic process, especially during the 2016 presidential face-off between Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump, who has been willing to extend ties with Moscow, is currently the subject of a high-profile investigation for alleged "collusion" with the Kremlin.

Moscow and Washington have also clashed on a range of other issues, including the war in Syria, the Ukraine conflict and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

In late November, Trump abruptly canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, citing Russia's maritime clash with Ukraine in waters off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula.

Trump put the blame of cancellation on Russia's refusal to release Ukrainian Navy ships and sailors captured during a maritime confrontation between the two countries.

The latest hostilities between Moscow and Kiev unfolded last month when Russia's naval forces intercepted and seized three Ukrainian vessels after they illegally entered Russian waters off the coast of Crimea in the Sea of Azov.

Crimea seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia in 2014, prompting the West to impose sanctions against Moscow.

The Kremlin has said the seizure of the Ukrainian ships was lawful because they were trespassing.

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