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Putin signs law to sanction US and allies for any ‘hostile actions’

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk after a meeting on the closing day of the 25th APEC Summit on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 04, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that allows for counter-sanctions against the United States and its allies for any “hostile actions” against Russia.

The legislation is intended to defend Russia’s own economic interests and is in retaliation after the U.S. issued sanctions against Russia in April.

The Trump Administration in April issued fresh sanctions against nearly 40 top Russian business leaders, officials and companies, this time targeting seven oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin – including his son-in-law.

Those sanctioned include billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who has been connected to Donald Trump’s campaign via Paul Manafort; Putin adviser Suleiman Kerimov, and Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s son-in-law.

“The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities.”

The Trump Administration sanctioned seven oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, as well as 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned company and its subsidiary bank.

The administration in March had issued sanctions against Russia over its election meddling and ongoing cyber attacks.

Five entities and 19 individuals – including the 13 indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russia investigation – are being sanctioned for “Russia’s destabilizing activities,” an official said, and that the Russian government is “reckless and irresponsible.”