February 25, 2018

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Putin sorry for not 'shielding' Russia athletes from doping scandal

01 February 2018

A Russian businessman who is on the Trump administration's list of Russian politicians and businessmen, released as part of a us law aimed at punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 USA election, says he will nevertheless advocate for better ties with the West.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that the administration could still impose sanctions.

"We will take the basis of that report and look at, as we do in the normal course, where it's appropriate to put sanctions".

As UNIAN reported earlier, the U.S. Treasury released the so-called "Kremlin report", a list of Russian President Vladimir Putin's allies facing U.S. sanctions.

The administration also published a list of Russian oligarchs who could be sanctioned, as required by the law. It also has vowed to retaliate, and even turned the allegation of election meddling against the United States by accusing it of interfering with Russia's presidential vote set for March.

"The missile attack on Syria previous year, after the chemical weapons attack, was indirectly targeting Russia - there were Russian people on the base - and that was a pretty aggressive action", he said, but there other fronts on which Russia can "cause us a lot of headaches", said O'Toole.

The 65-year-old Russian leader - who spoke before the US Treasury said it would act on its list "in the near future - said the US move would further worsen ties".

Putin was asked about the issue during a campaign meeting with supporters, one of whom asked what he would have to do to join the list, to audience laughter.

The list features the names of most of the senior members in Putin's administration including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and 96 business people the United States considers "oligarchs" close to Putin.

Daniel Fried, formerly the State Department's top sanctions policy official, said: "I think the administration missed an opportunity to extend the use of sanctions" to deter Russian Federation.

Russia hawks in Congress had pushed the administration to include certain names, while Russian businessmen hired lobbyists to keep them off.

"We were ready to take retaliatory steps, and, mind you, serious ones, which would cut our relations to zero", he said.

"It complicates Russia-U.S. relations, which are in a hard situation even without this, and it also causes damage to the worldwide relations in general".

A companion list of 96 "oligarchs" is a carbon copy of Forbes magazine's Russian billionaires' rankings, only arranged alphabetically.

"It's an example of public shaming", Adam Smith, a former Treasury Department adviser on sanctions, said.

It adds that there is a supplementary list of Russian names which remained classified, but which includes lower-rank or less wealthy individuals.

"New sanctions against Russian Federation will lead to an even greater consolidation of society", Volodin said.

"I think what [the report] shows is that people who worry about the election being hacked in 2018 ought to be anxious because this administration seems to have a bit of a blind spot", he said.

Putin sorry for not 'shielding' Russia athletes from doping scandal