Putin says US list of Russians is 'hostile step'
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration and Russia sanctions (all times local):
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Trump administration's list of top officials and businesspeople is a "hostile step" that harms relations between Russia and the United States.
Just 12 minutes before the deadline, the administration late on Monday released a long-awaited list of 114 Russian politicians and 96 "oligarchs" who have flourished under Putin, fulfilling a demand by Congress that the U.S. punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.
The section on political leaders includes the entire Kremlin administration and the Cabinet as well as other top officials.
Speaking at a campaign event in Moscow, Putin, who is running for president at the March election, joked on Tuesday that he felt "slighted" that he himself was not on the list.
Putin described the list as a "hostile step" but said Moscow does not want to make the situation worse and is eager to "develop the relations as much as our American counterparts are willing to."
The chairwoman of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament says Monday's publication of the list of Russian officials and businessmen as part of a U.S. law on sanctions against Russia is an attempt to influence Russia's upcoming presidential vote.
The Trump administration late on Monday published a long-anticipated list of top Russian officials and "oligarchs" who have flourished under President Vladimir Putin. The 114-strong political list is the entire presidential administration and the Russian Cabinet, while the list of 96 "oligarchs" is an exact copy of the Forbes magazine's Russian billionaires' rankings.
Valentina Matvienko, who chairs the Federation Council and whose name is also on the list, told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that the publication is "nothing but meddling into the electoral process" which seeks to "lower the support for the president."
Russians are going to the polls on March 18, and Putin is expected to win by a landslide.
The Kremlin says Monday's publication of the U.S. list of Russian officials and businessmen as part of a sanctions law shows that the United States views the entire Russian government as enemies.
The Trump administration late Monday released a long-awaited list of 114 Russian politicians and 96 "oligarchs" who have flourished under President Vladimir Putin, fulfilling a demand by Congress that the U.S. punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow would like to take time to analyze the list which he described as "unprecedented" in its scope. Peskov said Russia has yet to understand how individuals on the list, their activities and reputation abroad might be affected.
Although he said Russia should not "give in to emotions" before studying the list and its implications carefully, Peskov pointed out to the name of the law: "On countering America's adversaries through sanctions."
"De-facto everyone has been called an adversary of the United States," he said.
Peskov, as a member of the Kremlin administration, is on the list.
The Kremlin also indicated that it didn't view the U.S. administration's announcement that it would not impose any new sanctions on Russia for now as any sort of reassurance. Peskov said the Kremlin noted that new sanctions might still be imposed later.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has lauded the Trump administration's list of Russian oligarchs and politicians as a "good list."
The list released late on Monday was required by a sanctions law, adopted last year against Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Although it does not trigger any U.S. sanctions against the individuals, the very preparations for listing the Russian oligarchs has sent chills across the Russian business community and political elite in the past months.
Navalny, who came to prominence thanks to his investigations into official corruption, tweeted on Tuesday that he was "glad that these (people) have been officially recognized on the international level as crooks and thieves." Navalny in his investigations has exposed what he described as close ties between government officials and some of the billionaires on the list.
He questioned, however, why some Russian businessmen with no apparent ties to the government were put on the list, including Sergei Galitsky, founder of retail chain Magnit, and Arkady Volozh, founder and CEO of the search engine Yandex. Both have been lauded as self-made men who built their successful businesses without any government support.
A Russian businessman who is on the Trump administration's list of Russian politicians and businessmen, released as part of a U.S. law aimed at punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, says he will nevertheless advocate for better ties with the West.
Boris Titov, presidential ombudsman for business, is on the list along with two other Russian presidential envoys for human rights.
Titov, who is also running for Russian president in the March election, said he was surprised to find his name on the list: "We are working to protect people from authorities."
Titov said he would keep doing his job, "part of which is to improve relations with the West."
A senior Russian lawmaker has described the Trump administration's list of politicians and business figures released late on Monday as "political paranoia which, it turns out, is very hard to cure."
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Federation Council's foreign affairs committee, said U.S. intelligence failed to find compromising material on Russian politicians and "ended up copying the Kremlin phone book."
Kosachev criticized the U.S. government for harming Russia-U.S. relations, saying that "the consequences will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead."
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has dismissed the Trump administration's list of Russian politicians and businessmen as simply a "who's who" of Russian politics.
The list released by the Trump administration late on Monday includes 114 political figures and 96 people the U.S. Treasury deems to be "oligarchs." The list, required by a law passed by Congress last year to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, does not trigger any U.S. sanctions targeting the individuals.
Dvorkovich told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that he was not surprised to find his name on the list, too, saying that it "looks like a 'who's who' book." Dvorkovich stopped short of saying how Russia would react to it, saying that the government would "monitor the situation."
The Trump administration has released its highly anticipated list of Russian politicians and business figures in an attempt to increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The list includes 114 individuals deemed by the Treasury Department to be senior Russian political figures. It also includes 96 people deemed to be "oligarchs." The Treasury says each has an estimated net worth of $1 billion or more.
The list was required by a law passed by Congress last year to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. The Trump administration had until Monday to release the list, aimed at exposing those who have gained wealth or power through association with Putin. It's been informally referred to as the "Putin list."
The list does not trigger any U.S. sanctions targeting the individuals.
The Trump administration has notified Congress that it will not impose new sanctions on Russia at this time.
The State Department says it's confident that new legislation enacted last year is significantly deterring Russian defense sales.
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert estimates foreign governments have abandoned several billion dollars in planned or announced Russian purchases.
The decision comes amid ongoing concerns from critics of the president that his administration has been too soft on Russia. Investigations continue into Moscow's efforts to influence the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win.
The Treasury Department was expected to release another list of businessmen who have grown rich under Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the day came and went with no word. The Treasury Department did not respond to multiple inquiries Monday about the list.