United States of America has issued sanctions against Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections and the notorious Notpetya cyberattacks. Intelligence agencies like Federal Security Service (FSB) and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and individuals who have been accused by Robert Mueller in their alleged role in the election. The sudden decision has been the result of strong criticism of Trump administration for its lack of response to Russian interference in US elections. The Department of Justice is continuing its investigation to find any links between Kremlin and the Trump election campaign.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that the Russian cyber attacks aiming to disrupt critical infrastructure and its attempts to meddle with the US elections have finally been met with tough sanctions by the US as a part of the wider effort to deal with continuous criminal attacks by Russia. The sanctions will completely sever the links of the targeted individuals with US financial systems in addition to blocking off all the properties which are under US jurisdiction. All US citizens are also prohibited from entering into any transaction with them.
The Treasury Department mentioned that the Russian hackers have aimed to disrupt various entities of US government, important sectors of infrastructure like nuclear, energy, water, aviation, commercial facilities etc. The sanctions have been welcomed by different corners of the US administration and economy. The Treasury Department has reiterated that it will continue to maintain pressure on Russia for its rampant attempts to destabilize Ukraine, Crimea occupation, corruption and violations of human rights.
In another move, US, Germany, France and Britain have jointly asked Russia to explain its stance on the use of Novichok nerve agent to attack former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.