World

Russia sanctions

What you need to know

Congress passed a bill placing sanctions on Russia in August 2017. It took President Donald Trump more than six months to respond.

The sanctions were in response to:

  • Russia’s interference in the 2016 election

  • Human rights violations

  • The annexation of Crimea

  • Military operations in eastern Ukraine

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They also reduce the president’s power to wave or ease certain sanctions without Congressional approval.

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The sanctions target people and entities that:

Undermine US cybersecurity on behalf of the Russian government

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Invest certain amounts in Russia’s energy export pipelines

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Conduct “significant” transactions with Russian defense and intelligence agencies

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Commit, or assist in, serious human rights abuses

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Commit acts of “significant” corruption

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Provide support to the Syrian government to acquire arms

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Invest in assets that unfairly benefit government officials or their associates

Limited to a one-year period of $10 million or more

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The US and the European Union have spearheaded past sanctions against Russia, and other countries have followed suit.

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But measuring their impact on Russia’s economy is not an exact science.

What seems clear is that the price of oil — which Russia's economy depends on — has had a far greater impact than sanctions.

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In March 2018, the Trump administration enacted sanctions on Russian entities including the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that produced divisive political posts on American social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election.

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One month later, Trump slapped sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin, along with 17 senior Russian officials.