U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement by Secretary Michael R. Pompeo
September 23, 2020
Today, the United States imposed sanctions on a network connected to Russian operative Yevgeniy Prigozhin by targeting entities and individuals working on his behalf to advance Russia’s influence in the Central African Republic (CAR). The United States is also targeting actors involved in supporting the activities of the Federal Security Service, also known as the FSB, for supporting previously designated persons’ attempts to evade U.S. sanctions.
Prigozhin is the leader and financier of the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm designated by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in 2018 and 2019. The Internet Research Agency conducts operations designed to exacerbate political tensions and divisions around the world, including in the United States. Prigozhin is also believed to be the manager and financier of the Russian private military company Wagner, an OFAC-designated Russian Ministry of Defense proxy force, which conducts or has conducted operations in foreign countries such as Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Mozambique.
Today’s action targets eight individuals and seven entities directly involved in furthering Russia’s malign influence. In addition to targeting Prigozhin’s operations in CAR, those designated today include actors supporting activities of the FSB and who are engaged in sanctions evasion activities. The FSB was designated on March 15, 2018 under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for engaging in activities that undermine the cybersecurity of individuals and entities on behalf of the Russian government, including targeting U.S. officials. The FSB was also previously designated on December 28, 2016, pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, following the Russian government’s interference in U.S. elections and processes.
These designations are being taken pursuant to a variety of authorities, including E.O.s 13848; 13694, as amended; and 13661. 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, including the FSB, for perpetrating an array of destabilizing activities, such as conducting malicious cyber activities and interfering in elections, by further targeting networks supporting their activities.
For more information about these actions, please see the Department of the Treasury press release.