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U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC19BE6D3090
Order from Chaos

On the record: The U.S. administration’s actions on Russia

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The Trump administration’s policy actions often seem at odds with the President’s rhetoric. To set the record on policy actions, rather than rhetoric, we have tracked the administration’s concrete actions on Russia since January 20, 2017. The timeline is updated regularly and includes all official administration actions to date.

Trump Administration actions on Russia

Total number of policy actions: 32
*Policy actions in black, relevant events in red below.

2018

Oct 4
Indictments – In response to malicious cyber-related activities

7 officers of the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) were charged for their involvement in hacking Olympic athletes, anti-doping organizations, and chemical weapons monitors.

Sep 20
Sanctions – In response to malicious activities

33 Russian individuals and entities were sanctioned for their role in U.S. election interference and their involvement in supporting military operations in Syria and Ukraine. A Chinese entity and its director were also sanctioned for purchasing jet fighters and missiles from Russia.

Sep 12
Executive Order – Imposing sanctions for election interference

President Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on any nation or individual who authorizes, directs, or sponsors meddling operations in U.S. elections. The order would allow for the freezing of assets and the limiting of foreign access to U.S. financial institutions, as well as a cutoff of U.S. investment in sanctioned companies.

Sep 6
Statement – In response to Salisbury attack

The United States issued a joint statement with France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom, reiterating its outrage at the use of a chemical nerve agent in Salisbury and expressing full confidence in the British assessment that the suspects were officers of the Russian military intelligence service (GRU).

Aug 21
Sanctions – In response to malicious cyber-related activities

2 Russian individuals, a Russian company, and a Slovakian company were sanctioned for helping another Russian company avoid sanctions over the country’s malicious cyber-related activities.

Aug 21
Testimony – Assistant Secretary of State A. Wess Mitchell before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Aug 8
Sanctions – In response to Salisbury attack

The U.S. administration announced it would restrict remaining sources of foreign assistance and arms sales to Russia, and deny U.S. credit to Russia, including through the Export-Import Bank. Restrictions would also prohibit the export of security-sensitive goods and technology.

Jul 25
Testimony – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Jul 25
Declaration – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issues Crimea Declaration

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a formal policy reaffirming the U.S. rejection of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The announcement was released an hour before his scheduled testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Jul 16
Meeting – Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, Finland
Jul 13
Indictments – In response to malicious cyber-related activities

12 Russian intelligence officers were sanctioned for their involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign.

Jul 11-12
Meeting – NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium
Jun 11
Sanctions – In response to malicious cyber-related activities

5 Russian entities and 3 individuals – all closely linked to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) – were sanctioned.

Apr 6
Sanctions – In response to worldwide malign activity

7 Russian oligarchs and the companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company (and a bank it owns) were sanctioned for their roles in advancing Russia’s malign activities – including the continued occupation of Crimea, engaging in cyberattacks, and supporting Assad’s regime.

Mar 26
Expulsions – Russian intelligence officers in Washington and Seattle

48 Russian intelligence officers from the Russian embassy in Washington were expelled, and the Russian consulate in Seattle was ordered to close, in response to the Skripal poisoning in the United Kingdom.

Mar 25
Expulsions – Russian intelligence officers in New York

12 Russian intelligence officers from the Russian Mission to the United Nations in New York were expelled for actions deemed to be abuses of their privilege of residence.

Mar 15
Sanctions – In response to election meddling and cyberattacks

5 Russian entities and 19 individuals were sanctioned for conducting a series of cyberattacks and interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Mar 15
Alert – In response to Russian government cyber activity

The Department of Homeland Security and FBI issued a joint Technical Alert on Russian government actions targeting U.S. government entities, as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.

Mar 15
Statement – In response to Salisbury attack

The United States issued a joint statement with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom strongly condemning the Salisbury nerve agent attack and suggesting Russia was responsible for it.

Mar 14
Statement – In response to Salisbury attack

The U.S. administration issued a statement expressing its solidarity to the United Kingdom over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, and sharing its assessment that Russia was responsible for it.

Mar 4
Statement – In response to Russian and Syrian regime attacks on Eastern Gouta, Syria

The U.S. administration condemned the military offensive that the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, had been conducting in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region.

Mar 4
Poisoning – Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England
Feb 16
Indictments – In response to election meddling and cyberattacks

3 Russian entities and 13 individuals were indicted for conducting information operations to influence the 2016 U.S. elections.

Feb 15
Statement – In response to “NotPetya”

The U.S. administration condemned the Russian military for launching a destructive cyberattack in June 2017, also known as “NotPetya.”

Feb 13
Statement – Proposing sanctions on Latvian bank involved in illicit Russian-related activity

The Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network proposed a new rule to ban ABLV Bank AS, Latvia’s third-biggest bank, for its involvement in illicit Russia-related activity.

Feb 7
Military Action – In response to attack on U.S.-held base in Deir Ezzor, Syria

U.S. troops killed hundreds of Syrian forces backed by Russian mercenaries (as well as Russian private military contractors). The American bombing was launched in response to a surprise attack on a U.S.-held base in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region in Syria.

Jan 29
Release – Russian ‘Oligarch list’

The Department of the Treasury released a list of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation that could potentially be at risk of sanctions (114 senior political figures close to Russian President Putin and 96 oligarchs with a net worth of $1 billion or more).

Jan 26
Sanctions – In response to Ukraine conflict

21 individuals and 9 entities were sanctioned in connection with the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

Jan 19
Release – National Defense Strategy

The Department of Defense released its National Defense Strategy, identifying Russia and China as strategic competitors to the United States.

2017

Dec 22
Announcement – Provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine

The U.S. administration approved a plan to provide Ukraine with enhanced defensive capabilities to help it fight off Russia-backed separatists.

Dec 20
Sanctions – Global Magnitsky Act

52 people and entities from Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere were sanctioned for alleged human rights violations and corruption.

Dec 19
Export restrictions – In response to INF Treaty violation

The Department of Commerce announced new licensing and export restrictions on Russian companies Novator and Titan-Barrikady over production of a cruise missile prohibited by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Dec 18
Release – National Security Strategy

The White House released its National Security Strategy, identifying Russia and China as adversarial to the United States.

Nov 10-11
Meeting – APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam
Oct 27
Release – Guidance on CAATSA Section 231(d)

The Department of State issued public guidance on the implementation of Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA). The guidance specified 39 entities that the Department of State determined are part of – or are operating on behalf of – the Russian defense or intelligence sectors.

Sep 13
Ban – Government use of Kaspersky Labs software

The U.S. administration banned the use of Kaspersky Labs software on government computers due to Kaspersky’s ties to Russian intelligence services.

Aug 2
Legislation – President Trump signs Russia sanctions bill into law (CAATSA)

President Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions act (CAATSA), enacting new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

Jul 7-8
Meeting – G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany
May 26-27
Meeting – G-7 Summit in Sicily, Italy
May 24-25
Meeting – NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium
Mar 15
Indictments – In response to 2014 Yahoo hack

Three Russian individuals were charged for the 2014 Yahoo hack, including two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Authors

F

Filippos Letsas

Research Assistant - Center on the United States and Europe, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution

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