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US sanctions Russians spreading disinformation about Ukraine in Latin America

US sanctions Russians spreading disinformation about Ukraine in Latin America Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The United States has imposed restrictions against Russians involved in spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda in Latin American countries, according to the US Department of the Treasury.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on two individuals and two legal entities for services they provided to the government of the Russian Federation.

They attempted to present themselves as genuine media outlets and engaged in a campaign to spread malicious influence abroad.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson stated that the United States seeks to expose large-scale campaigns conducted by Russia at the direction of the government, aimed at deceiving voters and undermining trust in democratic institutions in the United States and worldwide.

Russian activities

Russia employs a range of tools, including harmful influence campaigns and illegal cyber activities, to undermine the interests of the United States, its allies, and partners, particularly in Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe.

In these efforts, Russia regularly uses its intelligence services, trusted individuals, and instruments of influence.

"Russia’s influence actors have increasingly adapted their methods to hide their involvement by developing a vast ecosystem of Russian proxy websites, personas, and organizations which give the false appearance of being independent news sources," writes the Treasury.

Russia has disseminated propaganda and attempted to interfere in American elections, undermine democracy in Moldova, and destabilize the situation in Ukraine.

Who is affected

Under US sanctions, political technologist and founder of the Social Design Agency and Structura Illya Gambashidze, as well as the CEO of Structura, Nikolai Tupikin, have been targeted.

The US believes that Gambashidze and Tupikin, starting in the fall of 2022, deployed a network of over 60 websites through which they spread false information about the war in Ukraine and information discrediting U.S. and NATO policies on the continent.

Sanctions against Russia

The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, and other countries continually impose new restrictions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine and other harmful activities. Recently, the European Union extended sanctions imposed on Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Additionally, the EU is preparing to impose tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus. This will be the first restriction on food products following Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The United States has also reached an agreement with Türkiye on a new compliance system and the imposition of new sanctions against Russia.