“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Monday that it had decided against imposing any sanctions on countries that buy Russian military equipment, saying that a new law was already deterring billions of dollars in such purchases.
The law required that sanctions be imposed against large purchasers of Russian arms, but it granted exceptions for a variety of reasons. The administration explained the exceptions it was citing to members of Congress in a classified briefing on Monday.
“We estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions” since the enactment of the law in August, said Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman. …”
And yet, the Trump administration still managed to piss off Russia:
“MOSCOW — The Trump administration managed the unusual feat this week of outraging both Russia’s leaders in Moscow and Russia’s biggest critics in Washington with its handling of a new law intended to punish the Kremlin for interference in the 2016 American elections.
The State Department angered members of Congress by announcing on Monday that it did not plan to impose new sanctions called for in a measure that President Trump reluctantly signed into law last year. And the Treasury Department angered Moscow late Monday night — Tuesday morning in Russia — with a new name-and-shame list identifying 210 senior Russian political and business figures. …
“This is definitely an unfriendly act,” President Vladimir V. Putin said when asked about the Treasury Department list during a campaign event in advance of Russia’s own presidential election in March. “It is complicating Russian-American relations, where the situation is already hard, and is definitely harming international relations in general.”
Mr. Putin said Moscow had pondered virtually breaking ties with Washington over what is known in Russia as the “Kremlin report,” but decided against it. “We were prepared to undertake retaliatory steps, and quite serious ones too, which would cut our relations to zero,” he said. “But we will refrain from such steps for the time being.” …”
The list compiled by the Treasury Department was ripped off the Kremlin’s English language website and a Forbes list of Russia’s wealthiest people. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has vowed there will be new sanctions on Russia while testifying before the Senate Banking Committee.