President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on multiple current and former government officials of Ukraine that the U.S. claims have assisted Russian influence operations in the country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday that the U.S. is targeting four Ukrainian individuals, including two current members of parliament, who are “connected to ongoing Russian intelligence service-directed influence activities designed to destabilize Ukraine.”
Blinken added, “This action is intended to target, highlight, and undercut Russia’s ongoing destabilization effort in Ukraine. It is separate and distinct from the broad range of high impact measures the United States and its allies and partners are prepared to impose in order to inflict significant costs on the Russian economy and financial system if it were to further invade Ukraine.”
The four Ukrainians sanctioned include Taras Kozak, Oleh Voloshyn, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Vladimir Sivkovich.
In his statement, Blinken went on to criticize “Russia’s influence campaigns,” which he noted “are not only focused on Ukraine.”
He said, “For over a decade, Russia has employed disinformation outlets and intelligence service affiliates globally to spread false narratives in support of its strategic goals. Since at least 2016, Russian intelligence services have sought to influence U.S. elections through a number of tactics.
"For example, Taras Kozak used the media platforms he owns both to denigrate senior members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s inner circle and amplify false narratives around the 2020 U.S. elections.”
Blinken concluded that “the United States will continue to take steps, including through actions like this one, and in partnership with the Ukrainian government, to identify, expose, and undercut Russia’s destabilization efforts in Ukraine. The United States also will continue to expose and counter Russia’s global campaign of malign influence, in Ukraine and beyond.”
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