The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned some Ukrainian officials, claiming they helped Russia set the pretext for its further invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Associated Press, the United States implemented the new sanctions on Thursday, January 20.
The sanctions name two current parliament members of Ukraine, including Taras Kozak and Oleh Voloshyn, and two former government officials. All of them have been intimately involved in disinformation efforts by Russia’s federal security service, or FSB.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said those Ukrainian officials were at the heart of Russia’s effort “to degrade the ability of the Ukrainian state to independently function” that began in 2020.
The sanctions come after U.S. President Joe Biden said he thinks Russia will invade Ukraine.
Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow would have to pay a “dear price” in lives lost and a restriction in access to the global banking system if it invades Ukraine.
Biden said on Thursday: “I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding: any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”
On Wednesday, Biden said that his administration is looking at possible sanctions against Russia, targeting the country’s banking system.
Last week, the White House warned that Russia had stationed operatives in and around Ukraine for a potential invasion.
In a statement from the Department of Treasury, Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said, “The United States is taking action to expose and counter Russia’s dangerous and threatening campaign of influence and disinformation in Ukraine.
“We are committed to taking steps to hold Russia accountable for their destabilizing actions.”
According to the Associated Press, some 100,000 Russian troops have massed near Ukraine’s border as Moscow is demanding written guarantees that NATO will not expand westward. However, members of the alliance refused to give such a pledge.