The Trump administration issued a series of punitive sanctions against Russia for coordinating a cyberattack on the U.S. energy grid, aviation systems, and other infrastructure, according to a new report by the Associated Press.
The measures also target Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, which put President Donald Trump in power. Critics have said the White House has been too easy on the Kremlin since the last major U.S. polls.
“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. He said others would face punishment in the future under the new sanctions law “to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities.”
Thirteen Russians were indicted last month by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading an investigation being deliberately undermined by the White House.
An alert published by the Department of Homeland Security said hackers had been using open-source material from websites to mine information later used to infiltrate networks. The hackers had downloaded a small image from a corporate human resources page that, when blown up, was revealed to be “a high-resolution photo that displayed control systems equipment models and status information in the background.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow will prepare a response to the sanctions, but did not provide additional details.
“It is tied to U.S. internal disorder, tied of course to our electoral calendar,” Ryabkov said according to TASS, the state news agency.
Another report released this month by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology added: “Documents that the American social media companies produced for the Committee confirmed that Russian agents were exploiting American social media platforms in an effort to disrupt domestic energy markets, suppress research and development of fossil-fuels, and stymie efforts to expand the use of natural gas.”
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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