The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on two Russian nationals over accusations of attempting to interfere in the 2018 US midterm elections.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement on Monday that it had blacklisted Igor Nesterov, 34, and Denis Kuzmin, 28, over links to the Internet Research Agency, an organization that US authorities claimed was tasked with spreading disinformation and false news.
“Today, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Russian actors that attempted to influence the 2018 US midterm elections, though there was no indication that foreign actors were able to compromise election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the tallying of votes,” the statement said.
“This Administration will work tirelessly to safeguard our electoral process, and will aggressively pursue any other foreign actor that attempts to interfere in the 2020 elections,” it added.
The Internet Research Agency was accused in a report by former US special counsel Robert Mueller of using social media to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
According to the Treasury statement, those targeted by the sanctions also had links to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who the Department had previously designated over allegations of election meddling.
Moreover, the US Treasury said on Monday that it had imposed sanctions on three Russian firms, three private planes and one ship.
The US has in the past introduced several rounds of sanctions against Moscow for what it calls Russia’s meddling in the US democratic process and its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
The Mueller investigation, which had cast a shadow over Trump since he took office, claims that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election but did not find that the Trump election campaign colluded with Moscow.
US intelligence agencies claim Moscow meddled in the election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States, hurting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and helping Trump.
Russia denies any interference and accuses the US of meddling in the domestic affairs of countries such as Venezuela.