WASHINGTON — President Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on a series of Russian organizations and individuals on Thursday in retaliation for interference in the 2016 presidential elections and other “malicious” cyberattacks. It was the most significant action taken against Moscow since Mr. Trump took office.
The sanctions came at the same time the Trump administration joined a collective statement with Britain, France and Germany on Thursday denouncing Russia for its apparent role in a nerve gas attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil, calling it a “clear violation” of international law. But the statement included no joint action in response.
The American sanctions announced on Thursday targeted many of the same Russian organizations and operatives identified by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, in an indictment that outlined an audacious attempt to spread disinformation and propaganda to disrupt American democracy and, eventually, influence the vote on behalf of Mr. Trump. The sanctions also responded to other cyberattacks, including a previously undisclosed attempt to penetrate the American energy grid.
“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyberactivity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyberattacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia.”
The sanctions, targeting five Russian organizations and 19 individuals, will generally block them from traveling to the United States, freeze any assets in the country and bar American businesses and individuals from doing business with them. Among the organizations sanctioned were the Federal Security Service, the successor to the K.G.B. known by its Russian acronym F.S.B., and Russian military intelligence, known as G.R.U., although they, like a few others, were previously penalized under past actions for the intervention in Ukraine.
In addition to the election meddling, the attacks cited by the Treasury Department included the NotPetya cyberattack that caused billions of dollars in damage in the United States, Europe and Asia in what the department called “the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history.”