By Michael Hernandez
The U.S. on Thursday blacklisted 33 Russian officials and entities associated with Moscow's defense and intelligence industries.
The action effectively makes any person who conducts a "significant transaction" with the designated individuals the target of automatic U.S. sanctions following a sweeping sanctions bill passed by Congress in 2017.
That bill, known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), authorizes the president to take economic measures against Russia and other countries. All of the Russian individuals and entities have been added to CAATSA's sanctions list.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier Thursday signed an executive order authorizing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to take actions to further implement the act.
Pompeo did so, imposing economic penalties on Chinese arms procurer Equipment Development Department (EDD) and its director, Li Shangfu for engaging in "significant transactions" with Russia's main arms export body, Rosoboronexport. The firm had earlier been designated under U.S. law.
The State Department said EDD was involved in Russia's transfer of Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment.
The sanctions imposed on EDD include a denial of export licenses for the firm, and freezing any of Li's assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction, as well as imposing a visa ban on him.
"We will continue to vigorously implement CAATSA and urge all countries to curtail relationships with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors, both of which are linked to malign activities worldwide," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.