The moves affect any Russian tourists who may want to visit the U.S. soon and a few Russian individuals and entities doing business with North Korea.
In October 2016, Hillary Clinton said in a debate that Donald Trump, if elected, would be Vladimir Putin’s “puppet”:
It's pretty clear that Vladimir Putin would rather have a puppet in the White House than a president. #DebateNight
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 20, 2016
But this week, U.S.-Russia relations hit new lows, as the Trump administration countered Russian behavior with two major actions.
First, the U.S. suspended “nonimmigrant visas in Russia” in response to Putin’s orders for the U.S. “to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff.” NBC News reported this will mostly affect Russian tourists to the U.S.:
The decision would come as a blow to Russian tourists, nearly 250,000 of whom visited the U.S. last year, according to The Associated Press.
…The U.S. Mission to Russia told anyone with a visa interview scheduled at any consulate outside Moscow could reschedule it in the embassy in the Russian capital. One of these consulates is in Vladivostok, a city in Russia’s far east that’s almost 4,000 miles and an eight-hour flight from Moscow.
Then, the U.S. targeted four Russian individuals and one Russian-owned entity in its latest round of sanctions, punishing those who work with the rogue North Korean regime:
The United States on Tuesday imposed new North Korea-related sanctions, targeting Chinese and Russian firms and individuals for supporting Pyongyang’s weapons programs, but stopped short of an anticipated focus on Chinese banks.
The U.S. Treasury designated six Chinese-owned entities, one Russian, one North Korean and two based in Singapore. They included a Namibia-based subsidiary of a Chinese company and a North Korean entity operating in Namibia.
The sanctions also targeted six individuals – four Russians, one Chinese and one North Korean.
This is on top of actions the administration took last week to boost U.S. cybersecurity following Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and Russian entities or individuals continues.
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