The U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions against four Ukrainian politicians engaged in Russian government-directed influence activities to destabilize Ukraine, according to a statement posted on the agency’s website on January 20.
“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,” the statement said.
It added that the current restrictions are part of U.S. efforts to target purveyors of Russian disinformation.
In particular, sanctions have been imposed against current Ukrainian MPs Taras Kozak and Oleh Voloshyn, members of the party led by Viktor Medvedchuk, who is already subject to U.S. sanctions for his role in undermining Ukrainian sovereignty in 2014.
The Treasury Department said that Kozak, who controls several news channels in Ukraine, supported the Russian Federal Security Service’s plan to denigrate senior members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inner circle, falsely accusing them of mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also used his news platforms to amplify false narratives around the 2020 U.S. elections.
According to the statement, Voloshyn “has worked with Russian actors to undermine Ukrainian government officials and advocate on behalf of Russia.” He also worked with U.S.-designated Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national with ties to Russian intelligence who was sanctioned for attempts to influence the U.S. 2020 presidential election.
In addition, sanctions have been imposed on Volodymyr Oliynyk, a former Ukrainian MP from the Party of Regions, and Volodymyr Sivkovych, the former Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council.
“Oliynyk has a history of supporting Russia, currently resides in Moscow, Russia, and shares Russia’s anti-Western sentiments. In 2021, Oliynyk worked at the direction of the FSB to gather information about Ukrainian critical infrastructure,” the Treasury Department said.
According to the statement, Sivkovych “in 2021 worked with a network of Russian intelligence actors to carry out influence operations that attempted to build support for Ukraine to officially cede Crimea to Russia.”