The Kremlin said on Thursday it was bewildered by the US decision to impose sanctions against President Vladimir Putin's adult daughters, describing the move as part of a broader Western frenzy against Russia.
Fresh US sanctions against Moscow over its military intervention in Ukraine on Wednesday targeted Russian banks and elites, including Putin's daughters Katerina and Maria, who US officials believe are hiding their father's wealth.
"Of course we consider these sanctions in themselves to be the extension of an absolutely rabid position on the imposition of restrictions," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "In any case, the ongoing line on imposing restrictions against family members speaks for itself."
Peskov said the Kremlin could not comprehend why Putin's daughters would be targeted.
"This is something that is difficult to understand and explain," he said. "Unfortunately, we have to deal with such opponents."
Putin's daughter Katerina Tikhonova is a tech executive whose work supports the Russian government and its defense industry, according to details in the US sanctions package announced on Wednesday.
His other daughter, Maria Vorontsova, leads government-funded programs that have received billions of dollars from the Kremlin toward genetics research, and are personally overseen by Putin, the United States said.
Putin has always kept his and his family's private life out of the spotlight. The Kremlin often dismisses questions about them, citing his right to privacy.
Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour's military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.
Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw.
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