- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Trump administration on Wednesday slapped sanctions on eight individuals and seven entities connected to the Russian “troll farm” Internet Research Agency and its leader, Yevgeniy Prigozhin.

The action comes just 41 days before the U.S. presidential election. The U.S. last year imposed sanctions on Mr. Prigozhin and the IRA for trying to influence the midterm congressional elections in 2018.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the penalties and said in a statement that those involved had conducted “malicious cyber activities” and attempted to interfere in elections “by further targeting networks supporting their activities.”

“Prigozhin has an international network of supporters to spread his malign political and economic influence around the globe,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

A U.S. grand jury indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities, including the Internet Research Agency, in February 2018 on charges of trying to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes.”

Mr. Prigozhin is also believed to lead Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group, which has also been designated by the Treasury Department.

The group “conducts or has conducted operations in foreign countries such as Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Mozambique,” Mr. Pompeo said.

In July, U.S. military officials said that Russia is continuing to sneak military equipment into Libya through Wagner Group that is capable of mounting combat operations in the country.

Russian military equipment being delivered to Wagner Group includes the SA-22 air defense system and mine-resistant armored vehicles, U.S. Africa Command officials said.

Those sanctioned Wednesday were also penalized for supporting activities of Russia’s Federal Security Service “for supporting previously designated persons’ attempts to evade U.S. sanctions.”

“This action builds on the U.S. government’s efforts to promote accountability for the Russian government’s use of proxy actors and intelligence organizations,” Mr. Pompeo said.

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