Russian Federation threatens U.S. with "tough response" to introduction of sanctions

Moscow said on Friday it would respond firmly to new USA sanctions imposed against Russian businessmen, companies and government officials for what Washington called "malign activity" including alleged meddling in the 2016 United States election.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks in the White House briefing room in Washington on April 26, 2017.

Rather than punishing Russian Federation for one specific action, the new sanctions hit back at the Kremlin for its "ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern" of bad behavior, said the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. Yet in recent weeks Trump's administration has rolled out a series of actions - including several economic and diplomatic steps - to increase pressure on Putin and those presumed to benefit from his power.

The latest USA sanctions indeed targeted some major Russian energy companies, such as En+ or Eurosibenergo as well as the United Company RUSAL, which is the world's second-largest aluminum company by primary production output.

The sanctions could potentially hurt the Russian economy, especially the financial and energy sectors, and are part of Washington's effort to hold Russia to account for allegedly interfering in the election, which Moscow denies.

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"American democracy is clearly degrading", the ministry said. Assets of those targeted in the United States have been blocked, and all USA -based entities are forbidden from doing business with them.

These entities have been punished for their "malign activity around the world", the US Treasury Department said.

On March 15, the Trump administration said it would impose sanctions on 19 people and five entities, including Russian intelligence services, for cyberattacks stretching back at least two years.

The latest set of strict measures imposed by the U.S. against Russia "targets the top Russian entrepreneurs that refused to play to Washington's script", the embassy said in a statement. "Now, the sanctions cover captains of Russian business who refuse to play to Washington's scenario", the embassy said.

"Washington has delivered yet another blow on the Russian-US relations".

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