US Treasury Department sanctions 4 Ukrainian officials for working with Russian intelligence

3 months ago 18

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against four current and former Ukrainian government officials for collaborating with Russia.

The U.S. Treasury Department this week announced sanctions against four current and former Ukrainian government officials for having supported influence activities carried out by the Russian government. The officials are accused of having gathered sensitive information about critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

“Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned four individuals engaged in Russian government-directed influence activities to destabilize Ukraine.” reads the press release published by U.S. Treasury Department. “This action 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.”

According to the US agency, Russia’s security service, the Federal Security Service (FSB), recruited Ukrainian citizens in key positions to destabilize the political and social contest country.

The four individuals were involved in the influence campaign with different roles, the suspects have supported threat actors in carrying out an influence campaign.

Two of the four individuals, Taras Kozak and Oleh Voloshyn, who are two current Ukrainian Members of Parliament from the party led by Victor Medvedchuk (Medvedchuk), supported Russian disinformation by amplifying false narratives and undermining Ukrainian sovereignty.

Kozak controls several news channels in Ukraine and is accused of having supported the Russian intelligence to denigrate senior members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s inner circle, accusing them of mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voloshyn has worked with Russia-linked actors to undermine Ukrainian government officials and advocate on behalf of Russia.

Vladimir Sivkovich, former Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, supported Russian intelligence in carrying out influence operations to support the decision for Ukraine to officially cede Crimea to Russia in exchange for a drawdown of Russian-backed forces in the Donbas.

Volodymyr Oliynyk, is a former Ukrainian official, who currently resides in Moscow. He shares Russia’s anti-Western sentiments and in 2021, he worked for the FSB to gather information about Ukrainian critical infrastructure. 

“As Russia has pursued broad cyber operations against critical infrastructure, it has focused on disrupting one critical infrastructure sector in particular: Ukraine’s energy sector. Russia has also degraded Ukraine’s access to energy products in the middle of winter. Acting” continues the Treasury Department.

The US agency ordered to block all property and interests in property of the designated individuals described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons. Any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. 

“The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.” concludes the Agency

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, FSB)

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