14:12 GMT14 May 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - At least five Russian nationals and three Syrians were indicted on Tuesday on federal charges in the United States alleging that they had sent jet fuel and money to Syria in violation of the US economic sanctions against Syria and Crimea, the US Justice Department said in a statement.

    According to the Justice Department, the five Russian nationals, namely Ivan Okorokov, Ilya Loginov, Karen Stepanyan, Alexey Konkov and Liudmila Shmelkova, are employees of Sovfracht, a Russian shipping company and freight forwarder, which was involved in illegal activity. The three Syrians, namely Yaser Naser, Farid Bitar and Gabriel Bitar, coordinated this activity in the Middle East country.

    All eight individuals were charged with "sending jet fuel to Syria and making U.S. dollar wires to Syria and to sanctioned entities in Syria without receiving a license from the U.S. Treasury Department," the statement said.

    Over the past several years, the United States has introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russian individuals and entities over allegations on their "interference" in Ukraine's affairs, "meddling" in Western elections, and purported malicious cyber activity.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted all the accusations and taken retaliatory economic restrictions. On June 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on measures to counteract "unfriendly actions of the United States and other foreign countries." The law allows for the possibility of countermeasures against the United States and its allies, which have introduced anti-Russia sanctions. It also allows for a temporary or definitive end to the cooperation with the countries or entities that have engaged in unfriendly actions toward Russia.


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