Russia Sanctions Roundup
Blizzard of Sanctions Hits Russian Businesses: US Government Restrictions Continue to Expand
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, we saw a near-daily ratcheting-up of sanctions intended to target the Putin regime, Russian oligarchs, and others identified as supporters. The highlights of this ever-changing effort are outlined below.
Two Crucial Takeaways
- Continuous screening of customers and other business connections is a must-do. Sanctions lists are subject to significant change on a daily basis.
- For any transaction involving or destined for Russia or Belarus, very careful review and analysis is required. If other countries are involved (particularly Canada, the UK, and the EU), additional sanctions programs may also apply.
The White House released several executive orders, including investment and financing bans related to the Russian energy sector; import bans on Russian fish, seafood, alcoholic beverages, and non-industrial diamonds; export bans on luxury goods:
- Prohibiting Certain Imports and New Investments With Respect to Continued Russian Federation Efforts To Undermine the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine (Executive Order 14066 of March 8, 2022)
- Executive Order on Prohibiting Certain Imports, Exports, and New Investment with Respect to Continued Russian Federation Aggression (Executive Order 14068 of March 11, 2022)
As of March 31, 2022, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has determined that the financial services sector and the aerospace, electronics, and marine sectors of the Russian economy to sectoral sanctions under Executive Order 14024 (April 15, 2021).
Department of the Treasury/OFAC
The Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has implemented sanctions on specific Russian individuals and entities. These affect transactions by U.S. persons anywhere in the world, any persons in the U.S., and others with a U.S. nexus (e.g., clearing transactions through a U.S. bank).
Countries affected include Russian Belarus, and Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine, as well as Russian-linked entities worldwide. General licenses may be available, but are generally focused on wind-down and divestment.
For more information, refer to the following OFAC pages which contain comprehensive information on listings, regulations, and general licenses:
Department of Commerce/BIS
The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has been very actively implementing new sanctions related to the conflict through revisions to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR):
- §734.9 Revised Foreign Direct Product (FDP) Rule for Russia and Belarus.
- 734.9(f) – Russia/Belarus FDP rule
- 734.9(g) – Russia/Belarus-Military End User FDP rule
- For both rules, BIS is publishing a positive list of countries not subject to the rule because they have implemented substantially similar restrictions on their own.
- §744.21 Russia & Belarus Military End User rules – now cover all items subject to the EAR “other than food and medicine designated EAR99.”
- §746.5 Russian Industry Sector Sanctions: now include Russian oil refinery sector.
- §746.8 Sanctions Against Russia: Impose a license requirement for all items in Commerce Control List (CCL) Categories 3-9, with a presumption of denial.
- Moved forty-five Russian entities from the Military End-User (MEU) List to the Entity List with an expanded license requirement of all items subject to the EAR (including foreign-produced items subject to the Russia-MEU FDP rules).
- Added 91 entities to the Entity List, located in Belize, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malta, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, and United Kingdom.
- New limits on license exceptions for Russia & Belarus
- Finally amended Supplement No. 1 to Part 740 Country Groups to add Russia to Country Group D:5. This change was technically already in effect since the ITAR §126.1 listing February 2021. Ethiopia is still missing, but technically part of Country Group D:5.
Most changes are reflected directly in the EAR, often with Federal Register Notices published with retroactive effective dates. For additional background, notable Federal Register Notices and press releases include:
- U.S. Department of Commerce & Bureau of Industry and Security Russia and Belarus Rule Fact Sheet (Press Release) (February 24, 2022)
- Commerce Imposes Sweeping Export Restrictions on Belarus for Enabling Russia's Further Invasion of Ukraine (Press Release) (March 2, 2022)
- Implementation of Sanctions Against Russia Under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (87 FR 12226) (March 3, 2022)
- Expansion of Sanctions Against the Russian Industry Sector Under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (87 FR 12856) (March 8, 2022)
- Imposition of Sanctions Against Belarus Under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (87 FR 13048) (March 8, 2022)
- Further Imposition of Sanctions Against Russia With the Addition of Certain Entities to the Entity List (87 FR 13141) (March 9, 2022)
- Commerce Restricts the Export of Luxury Goods to Russia and Belarus and to Russian and Belarusian Oligarchs and Malign Actors in Latest Response to Aggression Against Ukraine (Press Release) (March 11, 2022)
- Imposition of Sanctions on `Luxury Goods' Destined for Russia and Belarus and for Russian and Belarusian Oligarchs and Malign Actors Under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (87 FR 14785) (March 11, 2022)
- Resources on Export Controls Implemented in Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine (Webpage) (Updated March 18, 2022)
Department of State/DDTC
The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) returned Russia to the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) §126.1 prohibited destinations list in February 2021. On February 25, 2022, DDTC announced that the areas of the “so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) or Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) regions of Ukraine” are also considered prohibited destinations. Belarus was already a longstanding member of the §126.1 list. Since the §126.1 listing amounts to a general prohibition on ITAR activity, we are watching for updates but not expecting significant changes. No official policy has been announced for prioritizing license review for end-users in Ukraine. Transactions should also be reviewed for risk of diversion to Russia or Russian-held areas.