At last the West is seeing deep into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and telling him enough is enough.
On Thursday, the Trump administration appointed fresh sanctions on 24 Russian organizations and personals for their interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and a series of cyberattacks in Ukraine, including the NotPetya virus that spread to several other countries.
“These targeted sanctions are a component of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” noted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
It’s a good first step — and it’s excellent that it’s only a first step. The sanctions also target “trolls” and the Internet Research Agency and other Russian outfits involved in campaign meddling.
The US action appears a day after British Prime Minister Theresa May ejected 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom — after Putin’s government refused to provide an explanation for the nerve-agent attack on former Russian spy/British double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
Earlier Thursday, the leaders of the United States, Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement denouncing Russia for the “first offensive use of a nerve agent” in Europe since World War II and endorsing UK authorities’ view that “there is no plausible alternative explanation” other than Moscow being behind it.
President Trump says his team is taking the attack “very seriously.” Indeed, Mnuchin says the Treasury plans further financial sanctions “to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs liable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the US financial system.”
Good: Target all the Putinites snapping up super-luxury cribs in New York and London. Don’t let his cronies stash any wealth in the West.
As UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a forceful speech Wednesday, Russia’s actions fit “into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the dominance and security of countries worldwide and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes.”
Washington, London, Paris and Berlin — and the entire west — need to keep it up with further steps to slap Putin down to size.