US slaps fresh sanctions on 12 Russian spies

World

20 Dec 2018

US slaps fresh sanctions on Russian spies for damaging activities

The US has slapped fresh sanctions on 12 Russian individuals and entities for their alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections and the brazen use of a military-grade nerve agent in an assassination attempt inside America's closest ally.

They were involved in a wide range of malign activities, including attempts to interfere in the 2016 US elections, the State Department said.

Read here.

Several of these people were related to Project Lakhta: SD

They were also involved in attempts to interfere in cyber-enabled attempts to undermine international organizations and the brazen use of a chemical weapon in an assassination attempt abroad, the State Department said. Several of these people were related to 'Project Lakhta'.

Statement

'Project Lakhta', broad Russia effort, includes Internet Research Agency: SD

'Project Lakhta', broad Russia effort, includes Internet Research Agency: SD

The 'Project Lakhta,' a broad Russian effort, which includes the Internet Research Agency that has sought to interfere in political and electoral systems worldwide, said the State Department, whose secretary is Mike Pompeo.

As a result of this action, any person determined to knowingly engage in a significant transaction with any of these persons will be a subject to sanctions, it added.

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Sanctions

Person held will be subject to CAATSA section-231 sanctions: SD

Defining the sanctions, the State Department said, "The person will be subject to the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) Section 231 sanctions."

In addition, the Treasury Department, Secretary of which is Steven Mnuchin, designated several members of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and individuals and entities related to 'Project Lakhta', including the 12 persons added to the List of Specified Persons (LSP).

'Russian intelligence services continue to delegitimize international organizations'

According to the State Department, the sanctions and listings undertaken are one part of an aggressive stand against irresponsible acts directed by the Government of the Russian Federation. "Russian intelligence services' cyber operations continue to seek to undermine democratic-elections and delegitimize international organizations," it alleged.

Reaction

We'll side with allies against Russian subversion, says State Department

We'll side with allies against Russian subversion, says State Department

Additionally, it's clear that Russian intelligence operatives used a military grade nerve agent to carry out an assassination attempt inside the borders of America's closest ally, a violation of Russia's obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, the State Department charged.

"We'll not tolerate attempts to interfere in our democratic process, and we'll side with our allies and partners against Russian subversion, destabilization," it added.

Sergei's case

Sergei, Russian double agent, was poisoned with nerve-agent in UK

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in the UK in March, leading to a major diplomatic standoff with Russia.

The 66-year-old former Russian double agent and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a shopping center bench in the Salisbury town on March 4.

They were hospitalized where it was found that he was found poisoned.

The probe

Trump denies allegations, says campaign never colluded with the Russians

Trump denies allegations, says campaign never colluded with the Russians

Earlier this month, Special Counsel Robert Muller, who is probing the allegations of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, and collusion with the Trump campaign, filed two separate court papers.

None of them directly answered the question of direct involvement of President Donald Trump in the alleged Russian interference.

Trump has repeatedly said that his campaign never colluded with the Russians.

Mueller's team has indicted over 30 people till now

So far, more than 30 people have been charged or pleaded guilty in Mueller's investigation which Trump calls a "witch hunt". Those who have been charges include five former Trump advisers, 26 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer.

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