By Jennifer Hansler, CNN
The US government on Wednesday designated an individual linked to the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) – an ultranationalist white supremacist organization – as a terrorist and sanctioned two others for their involvement in the group.
The organization and three of its leaders were classified as terrorists in 2020 by the US State Department – the first time in history the agency had designated a white supremacist group as such.
On Wednesday, the State Department announced it was designating Anton Thulin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) “for posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism.”
Thulin, a Swedish national, traveled to Russia in 2016 “and received paramilitary training from RIM, including bomb-making,” according to a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price. He was found guilty by a Swedish court in 2017 and sentenced to 22 months in prison “in connection with the detection of a powerful pipe bomb near a refugee residential center in Gothenburg, Sweden,” Price said.
According to the State Department, “after completing his sentence, Thulin sought to receive additional paramilitary training in Poland, before being deported by Polish authorities who cited the “serious, real, and current threat to the security and public order “which he represented”.
“The United States is designating Anton Thulin because his continued pursuit of terrorist training, even after serving his prison sentence for his role in the 2017 attack in Sweden, demonstrates that he continues to pose a significant risk to commit acts of terrorism,” the department said. said.
Terrorist designations deny Thulin access to the US financial system, in an attempt to make it more difficult to transfer money through the international system and fund their efforts.
The US Treasury also imposed sanctions on Europe-based RIM member Stanislav Shevchuk and Russia-based supporter Alexander Zhuchkovsky. Shevchuk was sanctioned “for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, RIM;” Zhuchkovsky, “for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support, or goods or services to or in support of RIM.”
According to the Treasury statement, Shevchuk “visited the United States in 2017 with the aim of building ties between RIM and far-right and white nationalist groups.”
“He also spoke on behalf of RIM at rallies in Europe and publicly advocated for the group across Europe as recently as 2019,” he said.
Zhuchkovsky “repeatedly used his account on Russia-based social media platform VK, formerly known as VKontakte, to raise funds and recruit for RIM,” the statement said.
“Since 2014, Zhuchkovsky has raised more than 200 million rubles to purchase weapons and military equipment for RIM and other pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine’s Donbass and facilitated the travel of RIM fighters to the region,” he said. he continued. “Since Russia began its unprovoked war against Ukraine in February 2022, Zhuchkovsky has continued to use his social media accounts and online payment methods to purchase military equipment and supplies for Russian fighters leading the war. invasion of Ukraine and continued fighting in the Donbass region.”
“Zhuchkovsky also taught at RIM’s Partizan Training Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, where participants receive training to carry out acts of terrorism and violence,” he added.
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Post expires at 9:57am on Sunday June 26th, 2022