The US has announced sanctions against several Russian individuals and entities, according to a statement from the Treasury Department. The new measures are described as “cyber-related.”
Russia’s deputy foreign minister responded by saying Moscow is preparing retaliatory measures over the sanctions, as cited by Interfax.
The sanctioned bodies include Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, as well as its Internet Research Agency. A total of 14 individuals involved with these entities have also been added to the US Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN).
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is among those sanctioned over alleged links to the Internet Research Agency, a company accused of employing fake social-media accounts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
In a statement, the Treasury accused the Russian hackers of carrying out multiple attacks on US infrastructure, including energy, nuclear, water and manufacturing facilities since March 2016. The federal department also cited the recent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, southwest England, as evidence of the Russian government’s “reckless and irresponsible conduct.”
Some of the names included in Thursday’s Treasury document correspond with the list of 13 Russians recently indicted by a US federal grand jury for allegedly interfering with US elections and political processes. The indictment says an organization known as the Internet Research Agency “sought, in part, to conduct what it called ‘information warfare against the United States of America’ through fictitious US personas on social media platforms and other internet-based media.”
However, speaking to the press about the indictments, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said “there is no allegation in the indictment that it had any effect on the outcome of the election.”
In total, the US has sanctioned 19 Russian individuals and five groups for alleged election meddling and cyberattacks. The Treasury says that it intends to impose additional measures on Russian officials and oligarchs.