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Derkach tapes: will the US sanctions list be expanded

Ukrinform video screenshot

Ukrinform video screenshot

To the seven citizens of Ukraine who have already come under US sanctions due to the Russian Federation's information influence and the Kremlin's attempts to interfere in the American presidential elections, it is demanded to add six more. This was reported by the NABU Civil Oversight Council, NGO Democratic Axe (Demokratychna Sokyra in Ukrainian), and InformNapalm following the investigation results of the network of Russian influence agents.

On January 11 this year, the United States imposed sanctions on seven Ukrainian citizens and four media outlets belonging to the network of foreign information influence. It is about Moscow's attempt, in particular through Andrii Derkach, to interfere in the electoral process in the States.

This group was engaged in the dissemination of fake information from the so-called "Derkach tapes" that allegedly prove Joseph Biden’s corruptness and the treason of the fifth President, Petro Poroshenko.

The sanctions list from January 11 list included:

  • people's deputy Oleksandr Dubinsky;
  • ex-people's deputy Alexander Onyshchenko;
  • the former prosecutor of the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine Kostiantyn Kulyk;
  • ex-employee of the US Embassy in Ukraine Andrii Telizhenko

and three persons close to Andrii Derkach:

  • Petro Zhuravel;
  • Anton Symonenko;
  • Dmytro Kovalchuk.

A public investigation showed that in fact many more people were involved in the information operation to promote Derkach fake tapes, attempts to influence the elections in the United States and cause a quarrel between Ukraine and Americans, the Head of the NABU Civil Oversight Council Mark Savchuk assured.

"The information work of the Russian Federation could not have taken place without such persons as Anatoly Shariy, Taras Kozak, Oksana Marchenko, Andrii Portnov, Ihor Kolomoisky, Nazar Diorditsa, and their media capabilities and media outlets under their control."

Mark Savchuk

Mark Savchuk

The Head of the NABU Civil Oversight Council

According to him, the activists have evidence that these people are not only interconnected, but also played different roles in the legalization of Derkach tapes in the information space.

Some of them played the role of propagandists, some were in charge of juridical legalization, and some provided their media to promote Russian narrative in the information space.

As for the roles of specific individuals, Anatoly Shariy, in particular, categorically asserted that Derkach tapes are genuine, and Joe Biden is a criminal, explains Mykhailo Makaruk, the Spokesman of the International Volunteer Community InformNapalm.

In addition, Shariy and Derkach have at least one link—the eldest daughter of Derkach, Tetiana Terekhova, has been friends with Olga Shariy for about 10 years. Shariy also has friendly relations with Oleksandr Dubinsky. Both provide information support to each other.

For his part, TV presenter Nazar Diorditsa legalized the topic of Derkach tapes and brought it to the international level, having asked President Zelensky about them at the press conference.

The response of the Head of State became the reason for many information manipulations, for example, talks that Zelensky called for an investigation of Derkach tapes.

Also, according to Makaruk, one must understand that TV presenter Oksana Marchenko is not only the official wife of Mr. Viktor Medvedchuk, but also the owner of all his financial assets.

«Her role is that of a person who bears full legal responsibility for these assets. In addition, one of Mrs. Marchenko’s assets are 8% of the shares of the TV channel 1+1.»

Mykhailo Makaruk

Mykhailo Makaruk

The Spokesman of the International Volunteer Community InformNapalm.

The long-term owner of this channel and a pool of other media actively spreading fake information about Derkach tapes is Ihor Kolomoisky.

UNIAN news agency that is also owned by Mr. Kolomoisky was the largest headliner among Ukrainian media in the dissemination of Derkach tapes, Makaruk adds.

Another media pool that worked for this idea is the pool of the people's deputy from the Opposition Platform—For Life Taras Kozak, he said. In Kozak's media, the fake information about Derkach tapes was covered as reliable information.

The last person involved, the ex-deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Viktor Yanukovych, Andrii Portnov, was the architect of the juridical legalization of Derkach tapes. Due to his close ties within law enforcement, he made sure that fake information was viewed as credible evidence, and in fact misled the investigation.

Thus, the conference participants assure that a circle of persons has formed in Ukraine who in 2020 purposefully and consistently participated in the Russian informational special operation "Derkach Tapes".

These people worked to ensure that these tapes first received as much publicity as possible and were fixed in the public consciousness as a reliable fact, and on the eve of the US elections were presented to American voters as irrefutable evidence of one of the candidates' corruptness.

"Each of them has a role to play, each of them does his own thing. The relationships between them are highlighted. And I will emphasize once again: in this investigation we are not talking about people who simply helped in the legalization of Derkach tapes. Without them, this international scandal simply would not have taken place, and relations between Ukraine and the United States would not be affected."

Iurii Gudymenko

Iurii Gudymenko

Co-founder of the NGO Democratic Axe

The next step that the activists are going to take is to officially contact the US Treasury with a request to consider the possibility of extending sanctions to the above group of individuals and legal entities. They also intend to urge the US government to synchronize its sanctions lists with the governments of the UK, Canada, and the European Union. In addition, the Ukrainian special services and the NSDC will also be required to synchronize sanctions with the United States and Europe.

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