The US on Friday said it has imposed sanctions on two individuals and four entities that support Russia’s global influence operations and attempts to interfere in elections.
“The individuals and entities designated today played various roles in Russia’s attempts to manipulate and destabilize the United States and its allies and partners, including Ukraine,” read a Treasury Department statement.
It said Russia’s Project Lakhta, which has expenses and an operating budget of millions of dollars, funds troll farms and has used fictitious online personas that posed as Americans to interfere in US elections since at least 2014.
Russian national Aeksandr Viktorovich Ionov, who has been a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) “co-optee,” cooperates with Project Lakhta entities to publish and disseminate disinformation, according to the Treasury.
Another Russian national, Natalya Valeryevna Burlinova, was also added to the sanctions list, with the Treasury saying that Russia’s intelligence services direct and fund Burlinova and the Center for Support and Development of Public Initiative Creative Diplomacy that she founded.
Other entities added to the sanctions list include Ionov Transkontinental that has involvement in Iran, Venezuela and Lebanon, and an English and Russian-language website called STOP-Imperialism.
“Free and fair elections form a pillar of American democracy that must be protected from outside influence,” said Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.