US sanctions Putin’s allies over election meddling, ‘malign activity’

The United States are imposing heavy sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies as Washington seeks to put pressure on Russia for election meddling and other “malign activity”.

The sanctions will freeze the assets US assets of seven Russian oligarchs, including close associate of Mr Putin aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska, and 17 Russian government officials.

Under pressure from Congress, the Trump administration has announced the sanctions, which the Treasury department describe as a response to adversarial actions by Moscow.

US President Donald Trump has faced criticism from Congress, including fellow Republicans, for not taking action against Russia’s increasingly aggressive actions.

Despite the sanctions, Mr Trump still wants to seek a ‘good relationship’ with Mr Putin and Russia.

“As the president has said, he wants to have a good relationship with Russia but that’s going to depend on some of the actions by the Russians,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press conference.

Russia’s foreign ministry makes it clear, however, that they will respond ‘harshly’ to sanctions and other steps taken against Russia.

“Of course we will not leave this current and any new anti-Russian attack without a harsh answer,” they said in a statement.

“But first of all we would like to recommend that Washington discard illusions that we can be spoken to in the language of sanctions.”

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