Russian Federation behind attacks on U.S. critical industries

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin discusses the Trump administration's tax reform proposal in the White House briefing room in Washington U.S

Pushing back harder on Russia, the Trump administration accused Moscow on Thursday of a concerted hacking operation targeting the US energy grid, aviation systems and other infrastructure, and also imposed sanctions on Russians for alleged interference in the 2016 election.

The Homeland Security Department says a Russian government hacking operation has affected the USA nuclear, aviation, water, construction and manufacturing sectors.

"A multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors has been dated back to as early as March 2016", says a technical alert released by the the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI following an investigation.

The United States on Thursday took its most notable action against Russia since Donald Trump became president, slapping sanctions on a group of Russian individuals and entities, including Moscow's intelligence services, for meddling in the 2016 USA election and malicious cyber attacks.

A group of U.S. lawmakers led by Senator Bob Menendez told the State Department in a letter that any sale of Russian S-400 air defense system should lead to new punitive measures as stipulated in the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

By imposing new sanctions on Russia and condemning a suspected Russian chemical attack in Britain, Washington has signalled a tougher stance towards Moscow despite President Donald Trump's stated desire for better ties.

He noted that only two new senior Russian officials were included and that the Obama administration had already imposed sanctions in December 2016 on the others.

The alert details numerous attempts extending back to March 2016 when Russian cyber operatives targeted United States government and infrastructure. The US Justice Department accused employees of this Russian company of being involved in the election meddling in 2016. But, he added, "We know that there is intent there".

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Tensions with Moscow are growing before Russia's presidential election Sunday, after a nerve agent attack in Britain on a Russian ex-spy. Russian Federation has flouted US and global law in its cyberattacks and election meddling.

The Russian government targeted US energy and other critical infrastructure facilities with cyber-attacks, according to the US Department of Home Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

U.S. sanctions announced against Russian Federation are long overdue, Democratic U.S. Sen.

Some lawmakers have called on the Trump administration to press the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to respond collectively to Russia's use of a military-grade nerve agent.

Numerous main entities and individuals hit - including the spy agencies and alleged "troll factory" boss Yevgeny Prigozhin - already face asset freezes and travel bans, either put in place under former president Barack Obama's administration or for actions linked to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Thursday's action blocks all property of those targeted that is subject to United States jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in transactions with them.

In a joint statement, Mr. Trump, French President Emmanual Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said they "abhor" the attack against Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, in Salisbury on March 4 - who remain hospitalized in critical condition.

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