The U.S. Treasury Department has released a hotly anticipated list of 210 Russian officials and billionaires believed to have close links to President Vladimir Putin, exposing them to scrutiny and potential future sanctions in a move that has angered the Kremlin.
The so-called Kremlin Report, published shortly after midnight local time on January 30, includes the names of 114 senior Russian political figures and 96 "oligarchs” who U.S. authorities say have gained wealth or power through association with Putin.
Informally, it has been referred to as the "Putin list."
It includes 43 of Putin's aides including Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, 31 cabinet ministers such as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and top officials in Russia's intelligence agencies.
The CEOs of major state-owned companies, including energy giant Rosneft and Sberbank, are also on the list, along with some of the most famous wealthy Russians, among them tycoons Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov, and Mikhail Prokhorov, aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, and Kaspersky Lab founder Yevgeny Kaspersky.
However, President Donald Trump's administration has notified Congress that it will not impose new sanctions on Russia at this time.
The Kremlin Report was submitted to the U.S. Congress on January 29 as required under the Counter America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). It was published shortly after midnight Washington-time on January 30.
Trump reluctantly signed the CAATSA law in August after it was passed by an overwhelming majority in both chambers of the U.S. legislature in response to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on January 29 accused the United States of using the list as an attempt to meddle in Russia's March 18 presidential election, which Putin is widely expected to win.
"We really do believe that this is a direct and obvious attempt to time some steps to coincide with the election in order to exert influence on it," Peskov told journalists.
Earlier on January 29, the U.S. State Department said that, if fresh U.S. sanctions are imposed in connection with the legislation, "they would primarily be on non-Russian entities that are responsible for significant transactions with Russia's defense and intelligence sector."
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the 2017 U.S. law was deterring billions of dollars in Russian defense sales -- and that "if the law is working, sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent."
Nauert did not announce new sanctions on January 29 or speak about individuals named by the Kremlin Report, saying the State Department "does not preview" its sanctions actions.
Instead, Nauert said the CAATSA "legislation and its implementation are deterring Russian defense sales."
"Since the enactment of the ... legislation, we estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions," she said.
In what was seen as a test of Trump's willingness to crack down on Russia, Congress had given the administration the January 29 deadline to release key reports under the law.
Trump criticized the law as "seriously flawed" when he signed it.
"We are using this legislation as Congress intended to press Russia to address our concerns related to its aggression in Ukraine, interference in other nations' domestic affairs, and abuses of human rights," Nauert said.
"Foreign government and private sector entities have been put on notice, both publicly and privately, including by the highest-level State Department and other U.S. government officials where appropriate, that significant transactions with listed Russian entities will result in sanctions," she said.
Nauert confirmed that both the State Department and the U.S. Treasury Department have communicated directly with "the relevant Congressional committees" about CAATSA and provided “briefings to update members and staff" on January 29 about the administration's progress on implementing the legislation.
A spokesman for Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Cardin's statements about possible fresh sanctions under CAATSA before the release of the Kremlin Report were "purposely vague" because the information provided to the committee by the State Department was considered "classified."
With reporting by AP, Reuters, Politico, and TASS