Slow-witted and blinkered: Moscow slams 'aggressive' USA sanctions, vows response

Slow-witted and blinkered: Moscow slams 'aggressive' USA sanctions, vows response

Slow-witted and blinkered: Moscow slams 'aggressive' USA sanctions, vows response

The United States on Tuesday sanctioned two Russian shipping companies and six Russian vessels for allegedly helping North Korea's illicit activities in violation of global sanctions.

Russia denies accusations of election meddling, but suspicions of interference deepened Tuesday when Microsoft said it had uncovered new Russian hacking efforts targeting USA political groups before November's midterm elections.

It is the third time this month that Washington has slapped sanctions on Russian firms for their alleged ties to illegal North Korean activity, demonstrating again the USA commitment to keep pressure on Pyongyang until it abandons its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

He and the State Department's top diplomat for Europe, Wess Mitchell, said Russian Federation is feeling the impact, costing its economy tens of billions of dollars, with companies under sanctions losing a quarter of their operating revenue and having to shed employees.

Nagibin did not answer a call seeking comment.

The U.S. Treasury said in a statement that the sanctioned companies, Saint Petersburg-based Vela-Marine Ltd and Slovakia-based Lacno S.R.O., and the two individuals helped Divetechnoservices evade previously imposed sanctions. He said the European Union and United States should respond to Russian Federation with "one voice".

Britain, the European Union, and the United States blame Russia for a nerve agent attack against a Russian double agent in Salisbury earlier this year.

Moscow has repeatedly said that it reserves the right to take additional countermeasures against USA diplomatic properties in Russian Federation if Washington continues hostility.

Putin also said Europe needed the Moscow-backed Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project, an initiative that Trump has harshly criticized, and that Russian Federation was the most suitable supplier of energy for Europe.

Earlier this year, the United States unveiled sanctions aimed at the illegal trade of petroleum products, coal and other goods with North Korea. That company was sanctioned in June for procuring underwater equipment and diving systems for Russian government agencies.

Treasury said the buyer was North Korea's Taesong Bank.

Two U.S. Senate committees held simultaneous hearings on Russia on Tuesday, where some lawmakers chastised administration officials for failing to sufficiently answer their questions, and for sending conflicting messages and doing too little to change Russian behaviour.

The United States also announced sanctions on Russian shipping over the transfer of refined petroleum products to North Korea in violation of U.N. restrictions.

The action targets Primorye Maritime Logistics and Gudzon Shipping, both based in Vladivostok, Russia, as well as six Russia-flagged vessels, including five identified as linked to Gudzon.

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