Trump administration slaps new sanctions on Russian firms, individuals

Trump administration slaps new sanctions on Russian firms, individuals
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The Trump administration on Tuesday announced that it is sanctioning two Russian firms and individuals for attempting to evade U.S. sanctions penalizing Moscow for engaging in malicious cyber activity.

The Treasury Department sanctioned two Russian entities for aiding another Russian company, called Divetechnoservices, that was sanctioned in June for providing underwater equipment and diving systems to Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB.

U.S. officials also slapped sanctions on two Russian individuals for helping Divetechnoservices circumvent U.S. sanctions.

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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Artist designs stamp to put Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's on bills On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE said in a statement that the “action against these deceptive actors is critical to ensure that the public is aware of the tactics undertaken by designated parties and that these actors remain blocked from the U.S. financial system.”    

The sanctions are being imposed under a law passed by Congress last year to penalize Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election in addition to other destabilizing activities across the globe.

The Trump administration has, at times, been criticized for not doing enough to penalize Moscow for meddling in the election, as President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE has sought to build better relations with Russia.

“The Treasury Department is disrupting Russian efforts to circumvent our sanctions,” Mnuchin said Tuesday.

The targets of the fresh sanctions are now banned from the U.S. financial system and their U.S. based assets are blocked.

Divetechnoservices, a Russian company that makes diving equipment, was among five companies and technology firms sanctioned by the Treasury Department in June for aiding the FSB in its cyber and underwater operations.

The Russian firms newly subject to U.S. sanctions are Vela-Marine Ltd., which tried to act for or on behalf of Divetechnoservices, and Lacno S.R.O., which provided material support for the underwater firm, according to U.S. officials.

Two employees of Divetechnoservices, Marina Igorevna Tsareva and Anton Aleksandrovich Nagibin, are also being sanctioned for acting on behalf of the company and helping it evade U.S. penalties.

Separately, the Treasury Department targeted several Russian shipping companies and vessels for violating U.N. sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear program.