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Europol to Crack Down on Russians Sanctioned Over Ukraine

FILE - A general view of the Europol building in The Hague, Netherlands, Dec. 12, 2019.

The European police agency Europol said Monday it had launched an operation targeting the assets of Russian individuals and companies sanctioned over the war in Ukraine.

The agency, based in The Hague, launched the operation dubbed "Oscar" jointly with EU member states as well as Eurojust and Frontex.

The operation aims to "facilitate partners' exchange of information and intelligence and provide operational support in a number of financial investigations targeting criminal assets and circumvention of the EU economic sanctions related to Russia's military aggression," Europol said in a statement.

The EU's border agency Frontex "will contribute to the operation by enhancing the scrutiny of the persons who are crossing EU's external borders and fall under the scope of the sanctions," the statement said.

Operation Oscar will continue for at least a year and includes a number of separate investigations, Europol said.

Europol will also provide tailored analytical support for investigations, forensic and technical expertise, and financial support to the relevant national authorities.

The EU agency for judicial cooperation Eurojust will also facilitate the exchange of strategic and operational information, offer legal assistance and support, and strengthen cooperation between national investigating and judicial authorities.