US announces more sanctions against Russians over 2016 election meddling

US announces more sanctions on Russians connected with election interference and other 'malign activity'.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The US Department of the Treasury has announced new sanctions targeting 15 officers of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and people behind Project Lakhta, a broad election interference effort that included Russian 'troll farm', the Internet Research Agency (IRA). 

The sanctions from the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control were in response to "Russia's continued disregard for international norms". 

The GRU officers are being sanctioned for their involvement in attempts to meddle with the 2016 US elections, hacks against World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), as well as the assassination attempts on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. 

As a result of the move by the Treasury, all property and interests in property of these persons subject to or transiting US jurisdiction are blocked, and US citizens are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. The move is largely symbolic but shows that the US is continuing to identify the individuals it believes were involved with the election meddling. 

Nine GRU officers who were designated for sanctions today were among the 12 officers indicted in July over the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack.

The new sanctions follow the release of two reports to the Senate Intelligence Committee this week detailing Russian interference using social media to benefit Donald Trump's and harm Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the 2016 election.

SEE: Can Russian hackers be stopped? Here's why it might take 20 years (TechRepublic cover story) | download the PDF version

GRU officers sanctioned for their role in 2016 election interference include Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev. 

Individuals designated under sanctions for the WADA and related hacks include GRU officers Aleksei Morenets and Evgenii Serebriakov, and Russian military intelligence officers Oleg Sotnikov and Alexey Minin. 

"Treasury is sanctioning Russian intelligence operatives involved in cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 election and a wide range of other malign activities," said Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury. 

"We are taking action against operatives working on behalf of a sanctioned oligarch, hacking the World Anti-Doping Agency and other international organizations, and engaging in other subversive actions." 

The US Treasury said the administration has sanctioned 272 Russia-related individuals and entities for a "broad range of malign activities".


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