US sanctions officials accused of helping Russia destabilize Ukraine

The U.S. government sanctioned four Ukrainian officials on Thursday accusing them of being involved in activities supported by the Kremlin to destabilize Ukraine.

If Russia invades Ukraine, the United States is warning of further action. Russia has gathered about 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, but has denied planning an attack. Russian officials have demanded a written guarantee that NATO will abandon military operations in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, but members of the alliance have refused to make such promises.

In one announcement, the U.S. Treasury claimed that four Ukrainian officials “played various roles in Russia’s global influence campaign to destabilize sovereign states.” The sanctions will nominate two current members of the Ukrainian Parliament, Taras Kozak and Ole Volosin, and two former government officials, Volodimir Olynyk and Vladimir Sibkovich.

The US government claims that all four were involved in the disinformation efforts of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and set an excuse for a potential further invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia has used hybrid tactics, including disinformation and other influential campaigns, to destabilize Ukraine for years,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Stated. statement.. “In 2020, the Kremlin authorities launched a comprehensive information operations program designed in part to reduce the ability of Ukraine to function independently. It played an important role in the campaign. “

According to the Treasury, Kozak, who manages several Ukrainian news channels, amplified false stories to blame the inner circle of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and accused him of mismanagement. It has been.

Meanwhile, Voloshyn allegedly worked with Russian actors to undermine Ukrainian government officials, and also with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian citizen who was previously sanctioned in an attempt to influence the U.S. 2020 presidential election. Said the Ministry of Finance.

Kozak and Voloshyn are members of the political parties of the Kremlin’s most prominent ally in Ukraine, the Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk was put under house arrest last year for treason. Prior to that, the United States sanctioned Medvedchuk in 2014 for playing a role in undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Sivkovich, formerly Ukrainian Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, worked with Russian intelligence activists in 2021 to exchange Crimea with Russia for the withdrawal of Russian-backed troops. It has been accused of supporting the official transfer. Russian troops occupied the Crimean region from Ukraine in 2014 and annexed the Black Sea Peninsula.

Oliynyk, who fled Ukraine to evacuate to Russia, allegedly worked with the FSB last year to gather information on important Ukrainian infrastructure.

“The United States is taking action to expose and counter Russia’s dangerous and threatening influence and disinformation campaigns in Ukraine,” Deputy Secretary of Finance Wally Adeyemo said in a statement. .. “We promise to take steps to hold Russia responsible for its precarious behavior.”

Sanctions are the assets of four individuals in the United States or who own or control an individual in the United States and their interests in assets are blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury. Means that. All transactions involving blocked properties or four individuals are also prohibited.

Epoch Times Photo
US President Joe Biden will hold a rare press conference on January 19, 2022 to begin his second year in office in the East Room of the White House. (Mandel Ngan / Getty Images)

Sanctions will take place within 24 hours of President Joe Biden’s statement that Russia believes it will “migrate” to Ukraine. Biden also warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would pay a “dear price” for lost lives, and if so, could limit access to the world’s banking system.

Republican and Ukrainian officials told reporters Wednesday that Biden may have led to a limited Russian invasion, saying they would react to the measured reaction in the case of a “minor invasion.” Criticized the comment. Executives immediately sought to clarify his remarks, and Biden himself did so on Thursday.

“I was completely clear with President Putin,” Biden said Thursday. “There is no misunderstanding for him. The assembled Russian army unit moves across the Ukrainian border. This is an aggression.”

Shortly before US sanctions were announced, Zelensky said on Twitter: Just as there are few minor casualties or sorrows from losing a loved one. “

Biden said Wednesday that his team is considering sanctions that could target the Russian banking system to limit its ability to “trade in dollars.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, who co-led a bipartisan parliamentary delegation to Ukraine last weekend, said how the administration would affect other countries if Russia was banned from the banking system SWIFT. He told reporters that he understood that he was still analyzing. It handles the flow of money around the world.

The White House warned last week that Russia could station operatives in and around Ukraine, creating an excuse for aggression.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Lee


Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter who covers world news with a focus on US news. She is based in Australia and has a background in clinical optometry. Contact Mimi at [email protected]