The US Treasury Department has issued a statement naming the 16 Russian entities and 16 Russian personalities that have been financially sanctioned, indicating that they are involved in "aggressive and harmful activities by the Government of the Russian Federation".
The US, in addition to announcing sanctions against 32 Russian entities and individuals, has also notified the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats from Washington over allegations of Russian interference in the US presidential election.
According to the US Treasury statement, the sanctions include technology companies working with Russian intelligence to carry out "malicious" activities against the United States. They also indicate that US President Joe Biden today signed an executive order allowing the US government to impose sanctions on any sector of the Russian economy to punish Moscow for its interference in the 2020 US election.
Under the sanctions, all assets and interests of entities and individuals covered by the sanctions are banned from US territory. In addition, US companies and citizens are prohibited from dealing with them by providing any contributions, money, goods or other services.
Washington has also banned its companies from directly purchasing Russian debt securities issued by the Central Bank, the National Wealth Fund or the Russian Ministry of Finance. The White House also announced the expulsion of 10 people from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, whose identities it will not reveal at the time of writing.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the US sanctions contradict the interests of the two countries and noted that "Moscow's response to the sanctions is imperative".
Russia's foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to Moscow to inform him of Russia's position on the recent sanctions, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
The new US administration has been hinting for weeks that it intends to impose sanctions on Russia. Under its accusation of interfering in the presidential election in favour of former president Donald Trump, as well as the poisoning case of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny.
This follows talks about a possible summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in third countries, according to a proposal Biden made to Putin during a phone call between them on Tuesday. However, the Kremlin announced this morning that if the US imposes sanctions against Russia, it will be difficult to hold a summit between Putin and Biden.
"What is currently being discussed are possible sanctions, and this will in no way help the holding of such a meeting," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, referring to the summit. He added that "It is up to Putin and Biden to decide whether the summit will take place".
Last month Peskov said that "the Kremlin does not agree with the conclusions of the CIA report on Russia's interference in the 2020 US elections and considers them to be unsupported by evidence".
It is worth noting that since Biden took office earlier this year, US-Russian relations have seen much controversy and an escalation in statements. Especially the time when Biden went so far as to describe Putin as a "murderer".
In mid-March, Biden said in an interview with US broadcaster ABC NEWS that the Russian president was a "murderer" and would pay the price for his interference in the recent US presidential election, warning him of the "consequences" of his intervention.