The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions against Russians who launched cyberattacks against the U.S. or tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.
On Thursday, senior national security officials announced the U.S. will sanction 19 individuals and five entities, who were behind a range of cyber attacks and efforts to interfere in the election.
“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyberactivity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyberattacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” he said.
Democrats and Trump critics have argued that the lack of any sanctions for meddling shows that President Trump has been soft on Russia, and some argue it is proof that the president colluded with Russia during the election, despite any evidence to date.
Thursday’s sanctions effectively undercuts that criticism.
The sanctions will prohibit Americans from doing business with those individuals and entities, block them from traveling to the U.S., and their freeze assets in the U.S.
The Treasury Department cited the NotPetya cyberattack that caused billions of dollars in damage to the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Some of those sanctioned have already been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The sanctions follow a collective U.S.-Britain-France-Germany statement denouncing Russia for a nerve gas attack against a former Russian spy and defector and his daughter on British soil earlier this month.
When asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the attack, Trump responded, “It looks like it.”
“I’ve spoken with the prime minister and we are in discussions. A very sad situation. It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it. Something that should never, ever happen, and we’re taking it very seriously, as I think are many others,” he said.