Ryabkov on Russia's respond to new United States sanctions

Donald Trump exits the stage following a rally in Cedar Rapids Iowa

Donald Trump exits the stage following a rally in Cedar Rapids

With the US under pressure to act, the actions announced by the US Treasury Department, targeting 19 individuals and five entities including Russian intelligence services, represented the most significant steps taken against Moscow since Trump assumed office in January 2017.

All 13 people indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller last month were targeted by Thursday's sanctions.

US national security officials said the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Homeland Security Department and American intelligence agencies determined that Russian intelligence and others were behind the attacks on the energy sector.

"It is also worth thinking about that, destroying Russian-American relations", said Ryabkov.

The officials said US agencies have worked with private businesses to thwart such attacks, but said the long-term "multi-stage campaign" is "ongoing". "The image, when expanded, was a high-resolution photo that displayed control systems equipment models and status information in the background".

The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee praised the Trump administration's moves against Russian Federation and said more needs to be done.

Trump himself yesterday declined to comment on the sanctions or Russia's actions against the United States, even as he condemned Russia for its apparent role in the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K.

Without offering greater context, O'Donnell leaves her viewers with ambiguity about Trump's stance on Russian Federation, but his actions speak louder than her words.

"It is tied to US internal disorder, tied of course to our election calendar", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the news agency Tass.

Treasury's statement blamed Russian Federation for interference in the 2016 US election and destructive cyberattacks, including the June 2017 NotPetya incident, which it characterized as "the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history".

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But Thursday's alert provided a link to an analysis by the us cyber security firm Symantec last fall that said a group it had dubbed Dragonfly had targeted United States and European energy companies and in some cases successfully broken into the core systems that control the companies' operations.

Trump has faced fierce criticism in the United States for doing too little to punish Russia for the election meddling and other actions, and special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians, an allegation the president denies.

The sanctions mark the first use of a law Congress passed in June to punish Russian Federation for its election-year interference.

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was unequivocal in saying that Thursday's action by his department "counters Russia's continuing destabilizing activities, ranging from interference in the 2016 election to conducting destructive cyber-attacks".

Mnuchin said there would be additional sanctions against Russian government officials and oligarchs "for their destabilizing activities".

According to Mueller's indictment, the Internet Research Agency created fake social media accounts to sow discord during the 2016 presidential campaign, orchestrated pro-Trump rallies from afar and hired actors to dress as Hillary Clinton in cages at demonstrations, among other provocations.

The sanctions will prohibit U.S. companies and individuals from doing business with those named by the Treasury Department.

The U.S. sanctions were in response to claims that Russian Federation was guilty of cyberattacks and that it interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

According to a statement from the Trump administration, Russians were successful at infiltrating parts of the energy sector, though they were stopped before any damage could be done. The other is the GRU, a military spy organization, which officials said was "directly involved in interfering in the 2016 US election" through cyber-activities.

Russian government hackers since at least March 2016 "have also targeted United States government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors", a Treasury Department statement said.

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