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U.S. sanctions Ukraine officers linked to Giuliani ally for meddling in 2020 election

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Central sq. in Kiev, Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday slapped sanctions on seven Kremlin-linked people and 4 entities for trying to intervene within the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The U.S. Treasury Department described the focused sanctions because the “inner circle” of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, who was sanctioned final yr. Derkach has beforehand labored with Rudy Giuliani to dig up damaging data on President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, President-elect Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. 

“Since at least 2019, Derkach and his associates have leveraged U.S. media, U.S.-based social media platforms, and influential U.S. persons to spread misleading and unsubstantiated allegations that current and former U.S. officials engaged in corruption, money laundering, and unlawful political influence in Ukraine,” Treasury wrote in a press release.

Giuliani has acted as a private lawyer for Trump, and his efforts to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into the Bidens led to Trump’s impeachment over a yr in the past after the president withheld navy support to Ukraine whereas asking for such a probe.

“Russian disinformation campaigns targeting American citizens are a threat to our democracy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote in a press release Monday with out naming Biden or Trump. “The United States will continue to aggressively defend the integrity of our election systems and processes.”

In September, Treasury imposed sanctions on Derkach, describing him as an “active Russian agent for over a decade” with shut connections to Russian intelligence companies.

“From at least late 2019 through mid-2020, Derkach waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 presidential election,” Treasury wrote in a press release on the time.

Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach attends a information convention titled “Publication of facts of pressure of U.S. Embassy on Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies to interfere in electoral process in U.S.”, in Kiev, Ukraine October 9, 2019.

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

Treasury sanctioned three former Ukrainian authorities officers, Konstantin Kulyk, Oleksandr Onyshchenko and Andriy Telizhenko, in addition to Oleksandr Dubinsky, who’s a present member of the Ukrainian parliament for publicly affiliating themselves with Derkach.

Kulyk, a former prosecutor for the Ukrainian authorities, labored with Derkach to unfold false accusations of worldwide corruption, in keeping with Treasury.

Onyshchenko offered Derkach with edited audio recordings of purported conversations between former Ukrainian and U.S. officers. The recordings had been later launched by Derkach as a way to discredit U.S. officers and the integrity of U.S. elections.

Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat, orchestrated conferences between Derkach and U.S. people to debate propagate false claims.

Dubinsky, who serves alongside Derkach in Ukraine’s parliament, has beforehand perpetuated “false narratives” that had been designed to “denigrate U.S. presidential candidates and their families,” in keeping with Treasury.

Treasury additionally sanctioned NabuLeaks, Era-Media TOV, Only News and Skeptik TOV, which had been described as “media front companies in Ukraine that push false narratives at Derkach’s behest.”

Treasury additionally took goal at Petro Zhuravel, Dmytro Kovalchuk and Anton Simonenk, who labored for Derkach.

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