The US on Thursday sanctioned four Ukrainian officials, including two members of parliament the US claims are working with Russia to spread disinformation.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions targeted parliament members Taras Kozak and Oleh Voloshyn and two former government officials. All four are accused of working with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
The US accused the officials of working with the Russians to “destabilize” Ukraine, but a closer look at the allegations makes it clear the sanctions were more about internal politics.
According to the Treasury Department, Kozak supported Russia’s “plan to denigrate senior members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s inner circle, falsely accusing them of mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The sanctions came a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials in Kyiv.
President Biden has been threatening to hit Russia with severe economic sanctions if it invades Ukraine. The Treasury Department said Thursday’s sanctions were “separate and distinct” from the sanctions the US and its allies would impose “in order to inflict significant costs on the Russian economy and financial system if it were to further invade Ukraine.”