The United States has imposed sanctions on seven leading members of a Russian intelligence-linked group for its role in Russia’s malign influence campaigns aimed at destabilizing the government of Moldova.
The targeted individuals are Konstantin Prokopyevich Sapozhnikov, Yury Yuryevich Makolov, Gleb Maksimovich Khloponin, Svetlana Andreyevna Boyko, Aleksey Vyacheslavovich Losev, Vasily Viktorovich Gromovikov, and Anna Travnikova.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) did not specify the name of the group.
It also designated Perko Julleuchter, a workshop that produces ceramic lanterns, owned by Losev.
Throughout February and March of 2023, several thousand demonstrators participated in multiple anti-government protests in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, and other major cities in Moldova. The protests were organized by the designated individuals, the Treasury says.
They were part of a plot to capitalize on these protests in Chisinau and seize the Moldovan Government House.
They have also been accused of providing training for the protesters.
Sapozhnikov is the leader of the aforementioned malign influence group and organized the plot to destabilize the government of Moldova in early 2023, according to OFAC.
Anna Travnikova has been involved in the group’s influence operations targeting foreign audiences. The operations were designed to sway public opinion abroad in favor of Russia in the context of its ongoing war against Ukraine. In 2022, Travnikova coordinated with Boyko on promoting pro-Russia narratives for audiences in multiple countries, including the United States.
These actors are a part of Russia’s global information operations that have also targeted the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and countries in the Balkans, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. “The goal of these destabilizing operations is to weaken support for democratic governments and principles. These operatives provoke, train and oversee groups in democratic countries that conduct anti-government protests, rallies, marches, and demonstrations with the goal of overthrowing democratically elected leaders and creating or exacerbating instability,” it added.
The State Department vowed that the United States, along with its Allies and partners, will continue to expose, disrupt, and deter Russia’s malign influence campaigns.
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