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U.S. sanctions Ukrainian lawmaker and Rudy Giuliani ally for involvement in 2020 election meddling

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Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach attends a news conference 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

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on three Kremlin-linked individuals and a Ukrainian lawmaker Thursday for attempting to meddle in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

In a statement Thursday, Treasury described Andrii Derkach, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, as an “active Russian agent for over a decade” with close connections to Russian intelligence services.

“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,” Treasury said in a statement without naming Biden or Trump. “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,” the statement added.

Derkach has previously worked with Rudy Giuliani to dig up damaging information on President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Giuliani has acted as a personal lawyer for Trump, and his efforts to get Ukraine to launch an investigation of the Bidens led to Trump’s impeachment after the president withheld military aid to Ukraine while asking for such a probe.

Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

Treasury also designated three Russian nationals Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev, and Darya Aslanova for their work with Internet Research Agency, or IRA, a Russian troll farm that has been previously blacklisted. IRA’s financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin was indicted by Robert Mueller in 2018 for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. 

“Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. 

“This action sends a clear signal: the United States will not hesitate to use all tools of national power to respond to foreign actors that seek to interfere in or otherwise influence our elections by any means,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

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