In a reversal of roles, Russia has accused the US of trying to interfere with their presidential elections that are to be held in March.
In the past year, there have been multiple accusations of treason as various committees investigated whether or not Trumps campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. And now the Kremlin has levelled the blame in the opposite direction.
The US treasury is expected to release a report detailing which Russian oligarchs and political figures could be sanctioned. The report will also include the level of closeness these individuals share with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Dmitry Peskov who is the spokesman for Putin said the US report was a “direct and obvious attempt to influence the elections”. He also added that he was sure the list would not affect the vote.
Today's Russian papers reflect the nervousness in Moscow ahead of the US Treasury publishing a list of Russian oligarchs & their family members with close links to Vladimir Putin (& the sources of their income) pic.twitter.com/S5xi2GYZss
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) January 29, 2018
Putin is seen as the favourite to win the election, no doubt helped by his main opposition being barred from standing in the race.
The report will be finalised on Monday and will then be released to Congress. It is unknown as to whether the names mentioned will be made public or kept private. It is not even known how many names are on the list. Appearing in the report does not automatically trigger sanctions but it means that they can be activated by the US down the line.
The first time the US imposed sanctions on Russia was in the wake of the 2014 annexation of Crimea after an unrecognised referendum. Then with the EU, sanctions were extended after Russia’s involvement in the violence in eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied sending arms, ammunition and reinforcements to the area but says that Russian volunteers aided the rebels.
Only last week, the US imposed sanctions on 40 individuals, some of them due to their connection with the Ukrainian crisis.