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U.S. sanctions several Ukrainians for ties to efforts to influence 2020 election

By Jean Lotus
U.S. sanctions several Ukrainians for ties to efforts to influence 2020 election
Trump campaign attorney Rudolph Giuliani is seen during a news conference on November 19 at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., which challenged President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Monday for several Ukrainian nationals it says were tied to a pro-Russian lawmaker who worked to influence the 2020 presidential election with rumors about President-elect Joe Biden and his family members.

On the new list are nearly a dozen Ukrainian associates and entities linked to Andrii Derkach, the Russian-leaning Ukrainian lawmaker who was sanctioned previously by the U.S. government for trying to influence the election during the campaign.

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"Russian disinformation campaigns targeting American citizens are a threat to our democracy," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"The United States will continue to aggressively defend the integrity of our election systems and processes."

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Derkach had met with Rudolph Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, in Ukraine in late 2019 as Giuliani searched for ties between Biden and the government in Kiev. He later bankrolled a falsehood-filled document to members of Congress before the election that claimed Biden's family had participated in corruption in Ukraine.

"Derkach has ... used a network of media professionals and assistants to support his influence campaign centered on cultivating false or unsubstantiated narratives and spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States," the department said.

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Designated for the new sanctions are Ukraine lawmaker Oleksandr Dubinsky and former officials Konstantin Kulyk, Oleksandr Onyshchenko and Andriy Telizhenko.

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The Treasury also sanctioned personnel in Derkach's media organizations, including Dmytro Kovalchuk, Anton Simonenko and Petro Zhuravel. U.S. officials said Zhuravel owns other news sites that are "media front companies in Ukraine that spread disinformation."

The sanctions freeze all property and interests and U.S. citizens are prohibited from associating or engaging in transactions with those on the list.

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