US indicts Russian oligarch Malofeyev for sanctions violations
US Attorney General Merrick Garland (AFP)

The United States announced on Wednesday that it has indicted Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev for sanctions violations.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Russian billionaire had been previously identified as a source of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea and as providing support for the so-called Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine.

"After being sanctioned by the United States, Malofeyev attempted to evade the sanctions by using co-conspirators to surreptitiously acquire and run media outlets across Europe," Garland told reporters.

The indictment was the first of a Russian oligarch in the United States since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

Garland also announced the "disruption" of a global botnet controlled by the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU.

"The Russian government has recently used similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets," he said. "Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used.

"Thanks to our close work with international partners, we were able to detect the infection of thousands of network hardware devices," the attorney general said. "We were then able to disable the GRU's control over those devices before the botnet could be weaponized."