Ukrainian government & Russia accused of conspiring

January 21, 2022

Ukrainian government & Russia accused of conspiring

The US has alleged that Russian intelligence is recruiting current and former Ukrainian government officials to take over the government and cooperate with a Russian occupying force.

The United States sanctioned at least four Ukrainian government officials as it accused them of engaging in Russian government–directed influence activities to “destabilize” Ukraine.

The four individuals sanctioned are alleged to have acted at the direction of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) as part of an effort to undermine the Ukrainian government that predates the current Russian military buildup along the border of Ukraine.

Sanctions implications

The sanctions mean any US property owned by the four members is blocked and must be reported to OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control). These four members are also blocked from doing business in the US.

In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Biden administration’s role

“The United States is taking action to expose and counter Russia’s dangerous and threatening campaign of influence and disinformation in Ukraine,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the sanctions are “in line with other actions we have taken to target Russian propaganda campaigns.”

Biden administration has warned that Russia could invade Ukraine at any time, but also with Blinken, is also making diplomatic efforts to persuade Moscow to de-escalate the situation.

US approves transfer of American weapons from Baltic states to Ukraine

As the concerns grow about a possible Russian invasion, the State Department told Congress that it has approved export licenses for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which will allow the countries to transfer US-origin weapons to Ukraine.

The weapons include highly sought after, American anti-aircraft weapons systems from Latvia to Lithuania that would help Ukraine fend off Russian aircraft that some officials believe would lead the way in the early stages of a Russian invasion.

It’s unclear when the weapons will arrive in Ukraine, the timing, as well as the price for Ukraine, would be up to the countries who were given the approval.

The Biden administration is also working on transferring five Russian-made helicopters into Ukrainian control.

A notification has been sent to Congress for the helicopters, Mi-17s, which are already in Ukraine for maintenance after being pulled out of Afghanistan during the withdrawal there.

In late December, the Biden administration silently accepted an additional $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine, which authorized the shipment of defensive equipment that includes small arms and ammunition, four people familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN at the time.

Blinken, who has been traveling to Europe for meetings on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, dismissed suggestions that the US and allies’ providing defensive military equipment to Ukraine escalates tensions with Russia.

He added that the US is trying to ensure that “Ukraine has the means to defend itself, and that might perhaps deter further aggression by Russia.”

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