US sanctions 4 people with Russia ties over election interference

Treasury says blacklisted individuals attempted to influence US electoral process.

Election hacking
'Russia has used a wide range of influence methods and actors to target our electoral process, including targeting US presidential candidates,' the US Treasury said in a statement on Thursday announcing sanctions on Russia-linked individuals [File: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg]

The United States Treasury on Thursday blacklisted four people with links to Russia, claiming they are trying to influence the US electoral process.

“Russia uses a variety of proxies to attempt to sow discord between political parties and drive internal divisions to influence voters as part of Moscow’s broader efforts to undermine democratic countries and institutions,” the Treasury said in a statement on its website.

“In the United States, Russia has used a wide range of influence methods and actors to target our electoral process, including targeting U.S. presidential candidates.”

The sanctioned individuals include Andrii Derkach, a member of the Ukrainian parliament the Treasury says has been an active Russian agent for more than 10 years with ties to the Russian Intelligence Service.

“Derkach has directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election,” said the Treasury.

The other three blacklisted individuals are Russian nationals Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev and Darya Aslanova, the Treasury said are employees of a Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), which was indicted by former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The US says the three Russian nationals supported cryptocurrency accounts the IRA uses to fund its activities.

The Reuters news agency reported on Thursday that Microsoft Corp recently alerted one of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The Treasury sanctions freeze any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies