US Actions on Russia and Russia-related Sanctions
March 11, 2022: President Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 14068. The EO prohibited: (i) the importation into the US from Russia of fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; alcoholic beverages; non-industrial diamonds; (ii) the exportation, re-exportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the US, or by a US person, wherever located, of certain luxury goods; (iii) new investment in any sector of the Russian economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, by a US person, wherever located; (iv) the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the US, or by a US person, wherever located, of US dollar-denominated banknotes to the Government of the Russian Federation or any person located in Russia; and (v) any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a US person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a US person or within the US.
On the same day, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposed restrictions, implementing the EO, on the exports, reexports, and transfer (in-country) of luxury goods to all end users in Russia and Belarus and to certain Russian and Belarusian oligarchs.
March 8, 2022: President Biden issued EO 14066 banning the import of Russian crude oil and other petroleum, coal, and liquefied natural gas. The EO expands upon the scope of the national emergency declared in EO 14024 and extended in EO 14039. The order prohibits: (i) importation into the U.S. of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum fuels, oils and products of their distillation, liquified gas; coal and coal products; (ii) new U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector; (iii) Americans from financing or enabling foreign companies that are investing to produce energy in Russia; (iv) any transaction that evades or avoids the prohibitions set forth in the order; and (v) any conspiracy formed to violate the prohibitions set forth in the order.
March 6, 2022: In a Dear Colleague letter, House Speaker Pelosi confirmed that in addition to emergency funding to support Ukraine, the House is exploring legislation that would “ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the US, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization. [The House] would also empower the Executive branch to raise tariffs on Russian imports.”
March 4, 2022: The US Department of Commerce announced new actions related to Russia. The first added 91 new parties in 10 countries to the Entity List. The second expanded export controls on Russia’s oil refining sector.
OFAC published updated FAQs on Russia-related actions.
March 3, 2022: The White House announced the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was coordinating with other US Government agencies to fully block the assets of 19 oligarchs and 47 family members. Additionally, the Department of the Treasury will share “financial intelligence and other evidence” with the Department of Justice to support criminal prosecutions and seizure of assets.
In the same announcement, the Biden Administration confirmed OFAC’s designation of seven Russian entities for disinformation, including SDN Strategic Culture Foundation and associated outlets Odna Rodyna, Rhythm of Eurasia, and Journal Kamerton; SouthFront; SDN InfoRos; New Eastern Outlook; Oriental Review; United World International; and Geopolitical. OFAC designated 26 Russia and Ukraine-based individuals with key roles in these organizations.
March 2, 2022: OFAC issued new guidance on its Russia sanctions. In part the issuance of the clarifications was in response to allegations the Russian government was using exporters as its agents in an effort to assist the country in propping up their currency and funding.
OFAC also issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on several compliance issues, with a particular focus on prohibitions imposed under Directive 4 under Executive Order 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.”
BIS imposed on Belarus the export controls made effective on Russia on February 24, 2022. The action was in response to the Belarusian “substantial enabling” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The rule imposes a policy of denial on sensitive items that support certain Belarusian industries, including defense, aerospace, and maritime. Additionally, the rule adds Belarus to the two new Foreign Direct Product rules (FDPR) placed on Russia, with a near total ban on exports of items to both Russian and Belarusian military end users. The rule further adds two entities, including the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus to the Entity List with a footnote 3 designation.
Additionally, OFAC added names to the Specially Designated Nationals list (SDN List) or updated names on OFAC’s Non-SDN Menu Based Sanctions List pursuant to Executive Order 14024, Directive 4.
February 26, 2022: The European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, and the US issued a Joint Announcement on the imposition of further targeted sanctions against Russia, namely through removing Russian banks from the SWIFT banking system and imposing restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank. Further coordination through a transatlantic task force has been agreed.
February 24, 2022: OFAC blocked four Russian financial institutions, VTB Bank, Otkritie, Novikom, and Sovcombank. OFAC issued general licenses concurrently with the sanctions on VTB Bank, Otkritie, and Sovcombank authorizing the following transactions and dealings otherwise prohibited by sanctions, including wind down transactions.
Additionally, OFAC imposed blocking sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 14024 on seven Russian “elites” and two real estate companies owned by a concurrently sanctioned VTB Bank executive.
OFAC also imposed correspondent account and payable-through account (CAPTA) sanctions and rejection sanctions on Sberbank, the largest Russian financial institution by assets. These sanctions do not block Sberbank, but prohibit U.S. financial institutions from maintaining or opening accounts, as well as processing transactions for the bank and its non-U.S. financial institution subsidiaries as of March 26, 2022.
OFAC also imposed new debt and new equity sanctions on a number of Russian entities, which similarly to existing restrictions under Directive 1 of Executive Order 13662, as amended, prohibit U.S. persons from dealings in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity or new equity of entities issued on or after March 26, 2022.
OFAC issued additional six general licenses authorizing the certain transactions otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 14024.
The G7 issued a statement affirming their response on severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions.
The Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) implemented extensive new export control regulations on Russia and Russian-aligned regions of Ukraine. The measures include new Commerce Control List-based license requirements, new foreign direct product rules, an extended scope of Russia military end-use and end-user controls under Section 744.21, comprehensive export, reexport, and transfer (in-country) restrictions on DNR and LPR, and the addition of Russia to Country Group D:5.
Additionally, BIS transferred 45 Russian entities from the Military End-User List to the Entity List.
February 23, 2022: President Biden removed a national security waiver and imposed blocking sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig. That action, in concert with the German declaration that it would cease certification, effectively prevents Nord Stream 2 from becoming operational. OFAC issued General License No. 4 authorizing certain “wind down” transactions involving Nord Stream 2 AG until March 2, 2022.
February 22, 2022: OFAC added VEB and PSB and 42 subsidiaries, five vessels, and three individuals to the SDN List.
OFAC also issued Russia-related Directive 1A under Executive Order 14024 to extend the prior primary market sovereign debt prohibitions to cover participation of U.S. financial institutions in the secondary market for bonds (ruble or non-ruble denominated) issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National
Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.
February 21, 2022: President Biden signed Executive Order 14065, which prohibits new investment in the DNR and LPR regions, importation into the US of goods, services, or technology from the DNR or LPR regions; exportation, reexportation, sale or supply from a U.S. person of goods, services, or technology to the DNR or LPR regions; and facilitation of the above transactions conducted by non-U.S. persons. The Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued six General Licenses concurrently with the Executive Order authorizing certain transactions and dealing that would otherwise be prohibited.
Our related publications:
Additional US, UK and EU Sanctions on Russia (March 2022)