“Today’s actions are not intended to undermine the military capabilities or combat readiness of any country,” the State Department said in a statement, “but rather to impose costs on Russia in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behavior in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities.”
The penalties were applied under a law that requires the US to sanction anyone undertaking significant transactions with certain people affiliated with Russian intelligence and military services, including arms manufacturers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also expanded that blacklist Thursday, adding the names of 33 Russians to bring the total roster to 72 people.
Pompeo, in consultation with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, imposed sanctions on the Chinese military’s Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, for purchasing Su-35 combat aircraft and a S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia.
“This is a significant step,” a senior administration official told reporters. The official said it was the first time anyone has been sanctioned for doing business with people on the blacklist of Russian operatives.