MOSCOW – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the report released by the United States naming oligarchs in his inner circle constituted a hostile step that was damaging to the relations between the two countries.
During a meeting with activists for his presidential campaign, Putin criticized the move by the administration of Donald Trump, mandated by the US Congress, to release the so-called “Putin List” detailing the names of prominent and wealthy Russians tied to the Kremlin.
“The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on,” Putin said, adding that while it was a hostile and harmful step, Russia would, for now, refrain from retaliating against the US.
“We mainly need to think about ourselves; we need to deal with our economy, agriculture, we need to support export, health, education, defense,” he explained.
When asked by a journalist what he thought about personally being left out of the list, Putin quipped that he felt “slighted.”
The Trump administration had released the report shortly before midnight on Monday in accordance with a mandate set out in the sanctions imposed on Russia by overwhelming majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate as a response to the Kremlin’s alleged interference during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump, who is currently under investigation for his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian intelligence and subsequent obstruction of justice, had said that the new sanctions passed by Congress were unnecessary, unconstitutional and would not be enforced.
The Putin-linked billionaires on the list have not been subjected to any specific sanctions, but rather were the target of a “naming and shaming” strategy.