26 Jan 2018
The United States could release reports as early as Monday detailing the possibilities for expanding sanctions against Russia, including a list of prominent oligarchs and potential restrictions on the holding of Russian government debt.
The reports are part of a sanctions bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress soon after US President Donald Trump took office and signed by him in August last year, despite campaign pledges to improve ties with Russia.
The August 2 sanctions bill expands and toughens those already in force against Russia in response to its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and support for separatist rebels fighting in the east of the country.
It is intended to further punish Moscow for its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, an accusation the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
The bill requires the US Treasury Department to prepare a list of the most significant Russian oligarchs “as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth”.
This will be accompanied by a report “describing in detail the potential effects of expanding sanctions … to include sovereign debt and the full range of derivative products.”
Both reports are due to be sent to Congress by the end of January, weeks before Russia is due to vote in a presidential election which Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win.
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