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US imposes new sanctions on Russians for 2016 election meddling, cyber-attacks

[JURIST] The US Treasury Department imposed new economic sanctions [press release] Thursday on 19 Russian individuals and five entities for their interference in the 2016 US election, and a number of other destructive cyber-attacks.

The Treasury Department highlighted continuing Russian destabilizing activities, including the 2016 election and the NotPetya attack, a cyber-attack attributed to the Russian military on February 15. The statement calls this cyber-attack "the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history," which resulted in billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the United States, significantly disrupted global shipping, trade, hospitals, and the production of medicines.

"These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia. Treasury intends to impose additional CAATSA sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin [official website] said in the statement.

Thirteen individuals and three entities in Thursday's sanctions are subject to Executive Order 13694 [text, PDF], "Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities" sanctions, an Obama-era Executive Order. These are specifically in direct response to the meddling of the 2016 election, such as the Internet Research Agency's (IRA) creation of fake social media accounts and campaigns to boost the candidacy of Donald Trump.

"Through this activity, the IRA posted thousands of ads that reached millions of people online. The IRA also organized and coordinated political rallies during the run-up to the 2016 election, all while hiding its Russian identity. Further, the IRA unlawfully utilized personally identifiable information from US persons to open financial accounts to help fund IRA operations," the press release said.

The Trump administration has now sanctioned more than 100 individuals and entities under its Ukraine and Russia-related sanctions authority.

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