(NEW YORK) — A Russian legislator and two aides were charged with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions as they pushed a covert Russian propaganda campaign in the U.S. to win support for moves against Ukraine and other countries, an indictment unsealed Thursday said.
Three conspiracy charges were brought in an indictment in Manhattan federal court against the legislator, Aleksandr Babakov, 59, and two of his staff members — Aleksandr Nikolayevich Vorobev, 52, and Mikhail Alekseyevich Plisyuk, 58.
All three men named are based in Russia and remain at large, authorities said. Babakov currently serves as deputy chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, federal authorities said in a release.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Babakov’s actions show Russia’s “illegitimate actions against Ukraine extend beyond the battlefield, as political influencers under Russia’s control allegedly plotted to steer geopolitical change in Russia’s favor through surreptitious and illegal means in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West.”