US sanctions 16 Russian military spies, troll farm

Washington responds to a 'wide range of malign activity', including interference in the 2016 presidential vote.

    Petrov and Boshirov are accused of attempting to murder Skripal [Metroplitan Police via Reuters]
    Petrov and Boshirov are accused of attempting to murder Skripal [Metroplitan Police via Reuters]

    The US Treasury sanctioned 16 members of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency over a "wide range of malign activity", including interference in the 2016 presidential vote and hacking international organisations.

    The move came on Wednesday "in response to Russia's continued disregard for international norms", the Treasury said in a statement.

    Those targetted included Victor Alekseyevich Boyarkin, a former GRU officer who acted on behalf of sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, it said.

    "Deripaska and Boyarkin were involved in providing Russian financial support to a Montenegrin political party ahead of Montenegro's 2016 elections," the Treasury said.

    Deripaska was among several oligarchs, senior government officials and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company that the US sanctioned in April.

    Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two GRU agents, who allegedly took part in the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom, were also among the sanctioned.

    Russia's military unintelligence

    The measures also apply to two individuals and three companies tied to the Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), accused of trying to manipulate US public opinion.

    The Treasury also targetted Aleksei Morenets and Evgenii Serebriakov, officers in the GRU who played an integral role in compromising the database of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2016, as well as assisting the GRU's attempted cyber intrusions into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

    "To date, this administration has sanctioned 272 Russia-related individuals and entities for a broad range of malign activities," the Treasury said.

    Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, was quoted as saying: "The United States will continue to work with international allies and partners to take collective action to deter and defend against sustained malign activity by Russia, its proxies, and intelligence agencies."

    Following Wednesday's actions, all property and interests in property of these persons subject to or transiting US jurisdiction are blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies