Treasury Department Sanctions Two Ukrainians Who Worked With Manafort

The government called them "FSB pawns" for allegedly cooperating with Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine.
Paul Manafort
(Getty Images)

The Treasury Department sanctioned four Ukrainians on Thursday for being alleged “FSB pawns,” including two people who worked with Paul Manafort in Kyiv.

Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleh Voloshyn was sanctioned for allegedly “work[ing] with Russian actors to undermine Ukrainian government officials and advocate on behalf of Russia.”

Voloshyn in December 2017 published an op-ed ghostwritten by Manafort in the Kyiv Post, an English-language newspaper in Ukraine. That effort caused then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller to argue that Manafort had violated a court order by speaking about his case.

A Russia-residing Ukraine national named Vladimir Sivkovych was also sanctioned. At Manafort’s 2018 trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, his former employee Rick Gates testified that “some of the original people” in Manafort’s Kyiv office included Sivkovych, along with Konstantin Kilimnik, who prosecutors have described as a Russian intelligence officer.

Sivkovych fled Ukraine for Russia in February 2014, after the Ukrainian administration for which he worked fired on peaceful protestors in Kyiv.

The Treasury Department says that Sivkovych has been working “with a network of Russian intelligence actors” to effect a deal in which Ukraine would accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea in return for the removal of Russian-backed troops from the country’s east.

The sanctions order also says that Sivkovych played a role in two separate, U.S.-focused “disinformation campaigns.”

The first, the Treasury says, involved another sanctioned Ukrainian member of parliament, Andriy Derkach, who met with Rudy Giuliani in December 2019 as former President Trump sought dirt on his presumed opponent, Joe Biden. Derkach also released supposed tapes of Biden during the 2020 campaign.

The Treasury does not specify what other “influence operation targeting the United States” Sivkovych was involved in, saying only that it lasted from 2019 to 2020.

Manafort did not return an emailed request for comment from TPM. Voloshyn told TPM in a message, “I have never in my life contacted anyone from FSB. At least knowingly.”

Voloshyn added that he was a “consistent opponent of some aspects of US policy towards Ukraine that sows divisions in our society and in Europe.”

“And definitely I am a staunch critic of many of American agents of influence in Ukrainian politics and public sphere,” Voloshyn added. He also said that he had “express[ed] sympathies” towards Trump and had “questioned the role of Hunter Biden in allegedly corrupt schemes in Ukraine.”

“It might be have had an impact on my perception among current administration members,” Voloshyn added.

Russia has reportedly amassed troops and logistical support near the Ukrainian border. President Biden said on Wednesday that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was likely to stage another incursion into Ukraine, though the scale of that operation remains unknown.

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