The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned four individuals allegedly engaged in a Russian government-directed influence campaign to destabilize Ukraine. According to US authorities, Russian intelligence services recruit Ukrainian citizens in key positions to gain access to sensitive information, threaten the sovereignty of Ukraine, and then leverage these Ukrainian officials to create instability in advance of a potential Russian invasion. US authorities accused Russia of launching a comprehensive operation to degrade the ability of the Ukrainian state to function independently and to undermine prominent pro-West Ukrainians, who would stand in the way of Russian efforts to bring Ukraine under its control. According to US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, the United States is taking action to expose and counter Russia’s dangerous and threatening campaign of influence and disinformation in Ukraine. According to him, this is separate from the broad range of high-impact measures the United States and its allies are prepared to impose in order to inflict significant costs on the Russian economy and financial system if it were to further invade Ukraine.
Ukraine had been caught in between the rivalry of two great powers and acting as a battlefield between them. Earlier, America and western powers supported anti-Russian elements in Ukraine and successfully replaced the pro-Russian government of President Viktor Yanukovych with a west-backed government in Ukraine. The rivalry of both powers had put Ukraine in a state of chaos and both competing powers started backing warring factions of Ukrainian society. Currently, the pro-Russian separatist elements in Eastern Ukraine are struggling to get independence from Kyiv, while Putin’s aides are mulling to facilitate the path for the freedom of ethnically Russians majority region in Eastern Ukraine.
Presently, Russia has decreased its Diplomatic staff in Ukraine which is indicative of any change in Russian doctrine against Ukraine in near future. In fact, the west shattered Russian interests in Kyiv some years ago and currently facing a reciprocating move from Moscow, although America is trying to evade the situation, however, the game has its own rules.