US blacklists Russian entities tied to election meddling
The Trump administration on Thursday blacklisted 33 Russian individuals and entities, including a billionaire and several companies accused of interfering in American politics, limiting their ability to conduct business internationally.
The Treasury Department also slapped penalties on a Chinese military department for purchasing jets and missiles from a Russian arms export entity that had been previously blacklisted.
The Trump administration made the move as part of a bill Congress passed last year to punish Russia for its 2016 election interference and military intrusions in Ukraine. The 33 individuals and entities will be added to a State Department list of blacklisted Russian military and intelligence operatives, meaning that anyone who partakes in “significant transactions” with the companies will now be hit with sanctions.
The actions follow up on a slate of sanctions the Treasury Department imposed in March over election meddling, and a round of sanctions the State Department announced in August over the attempted assassination in Britain of a former Kremlin spy. Moscow has denied involvement in the poisoning.
Among the individuals and entities blacklisted are billionaire Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and his companies Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering.
Prigozhin and Concord were accused in a February indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller of funding the Internet Research Agency, which Mueller said worked for years to sew distrust online for American government officials to influence the 2016 election. The IRA was also blacklisted Thursday.
Prigozhin, Concord and the IRA were also hit with sanctions in March for their role in election meddling.
Separately, the Trump administration on Thursday hit a Chinese military department for carrying out “significant transactions” with Russian entities that were already blacklisted.
The Economic Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, will be barred from the U.S. financial system and U.S. visas after buying the equipment this winter from Rosoboronexport, Russias main arms export agency, which is on the State Department list.
Though intended to warn others considering engaging with Russians on the State Departments list, the sanctions are primarily directed at Russia rather than China, a senior administration official said.
“The ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia. [They] are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country,” the official said.