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US sanctions Russians over ‘malign activity’

WASHINGTON: The United States sanctioned 24 Russian people, including oligarchs and government officials, and 14 groups on Friday over what it called a range of malign activities by Moscow to subvert Western democracies, the Treasury Department said.

“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

Read More: Trump under investigation over Russia collusion: report

Nobody’s been tougher on Russia, says Trump

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his embrace of Vladimir Putin, saying good relations were important but claiming no one had been tougher on Russia.

“If we got along with Russia, that would be a good thing not a bad thing,” Trump said, days after congratulating the veteran Russian leader on his controversial re-election and suggesting they meet at the White House.

“Just about everybody agrees with that, except very stupid people,” he said, adding “probably nobody’s been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump.”

Trump reiterated his long-standing call for better relations with Moscow, despite a series of conflagrations and crises, including Russian meddling in the US election and the poisoning of a Russian double agent on British soil.

His comments came as he hosted leaders from the three Baltic states — which have had a torrid history with their larger neighbor Russia.

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