The United States has imposed sanctions on four Russian-linked individuals for alleged attempts to interfere in its electoral process.
U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, said in a statement on Thursday that the action was taken by the Department of Treasury.
Among the blacklisted is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andrii Derkach, who “maintains close ties with Russian intelligence’’.
Pompeo alleged that Derkach tried to influence the views of American voters through a Russian-directed covert influence campaign.
According to him, the campaign was aimed at “manipulating the American political process to advance Russia’s malign interests in Ukraine’’.
“This operation was designed to culminate prior to Election Day,’’ he alleged.
The secretary of state identified the other three as Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev and Darya Aslanova, all Russian citizens.
Pompeo said they had links to the “troll farm Internet Research Agency (also known as Lakhta Internet Research), owned and operated by Kremlin-linked oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin’’.
“They supported the Internet Research Agency’s cryptocurrency accounts, facilitating the Internet Research Agency’s malign influence campaigns targeting the American people.
“This action sends a clear signal: the U.S. 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,’’ he added.
The treasury department’s move freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them, according to Reuters.
The Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Russia and China came under accusations from the U.S. intelligence community in recent times over alleged election meddling.
While Russia was alleged to be meddling in favour of President Donald Trump, China was accused of working in support of Democratic Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden.
Both countries have denied the accusations.
On Sept. 4, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in an internal memo, warned of alleged plans by Russia to erode the confidence of Americans in mail-in voting.
The DHS said Kremlin was trying to amplify criticism of vote by mail, which many U.S. states were embracing to check the spread of COVID-19.