CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. sanctions announced against Russia are long overdue, Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Thursday.
Shaheen, who represents New Hampshire and serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, has been an outspoken supporter of measures meant to counter Russia’s interference in U.S. elections. In December, she was refused entry by the Russian Embassy because she was on black list created in response to sanctions.
Shaheen said the sanctions begin to deliver the tough punishment that’s “absolutely necessary” to defend the U.S. democracy.
“I remain very concerned about President (Donald) Trump’s disregard for the threat that the Kremlin continues to pose to fundamental institutions of our government and democracy, which is reflected in his administration’s lackluster response,” Shaheen said in a statement. “It’s absolutely imperative that the Trump administration marshal an aggressive federal response to Russia’s hybrid attacks on our country.”
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The Republican president’s administration said Russian intelligence and others were behind a broad range of cyberattacks beginning a year ago that have infiltrated the energy, nuclear, commercial, water, aviation and manufacturing sectors. The administration also said Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Altogether, 19 Russians were cited. Also sanctioned were five Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, which is accused of orchestrating a mass online disinformation campaign to affect the presidential election result.
Thursday’s action freezes any assets the people and entities may have in the United States and bars Americans from doing business with them.
Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, has called the Russia story a hoax. He has said Russian President Vladimir Putin “vehemently denied” the conclusions of numerous American intelligence agencies.