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US Sanctions against Russia

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In a notification published in the Federal Register on August 26, 2019, the State Department provided additional information on restrictions on exports to Russia that were initially described by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 2, 2019 when he announced the second round of targeted sanctions on Russia under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (the “CBW Act”).  Our blog post on the August 2, 2019 announcement (“Announcement”), which described sanctions measures concerning multilateral bank assistance and lending to or participation in debt offerings by the Russian sovereign, in addition to restrictions on exports to Russia described in further detail below, is available here.

On August 2, 2019, the US State Department announced targeted sanctions against Russia related to the March 2018 use of a “novichok” nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom.  This was the second round of sanctions required under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (the “CBW Act”) following the State Department’s determination on November 6, 2018 that Russia had failed to provide reliable assurances that it would not engage in future chemical weapons attacks. The US Government issued the first round of CBW Act sanctions on August 27, 2018. See our blog post on the first round of CBW Act sanctions here.

On June 26, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) amended Venezuela-related General License 13A (re-issued as General License 13B) to extend its expiration date from July 27, 2019 to October 25, 2019.  General License 13B continues to authorize transactions with Nynas AB, which is owned more than 50% by Petróleos de Venezuela SA (“PdVSA”), and any of Nynas AB’s subsidiaries.  PdVSA was designated as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) on January 28, 2019, under Executive Order 13850.  Our original blog post regarding the designation of PdVSA is available here.  Dealings with entities owned 50% or more by PdVSA are prohibited absent OFAC authorization (i.e., a general or specific license).  Our previous blog post regarding the application of US sanctions to certain PdVSA subsidiaries is available here.

In addition, OFAC extended the expiration dates of two general licenses related to GAZ Group (“GAZ”), which was designated as an SDN on April 6, 2018 for being owned or controlled by Oleg Deripaska.  Please see our blog post regarding this designation here

On December 19, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) submitted a letter to congressional leaders (“Congressional Letter”) notifying Congress of its intent to terminate the sanctions imposed on En+ Group plc (“En+”), UC Rusal plc (“RUSAL”), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (“ESE”) in 30 days.  On the same day, OFAC announced new sanctions against a number of individuals and entities for their involvement in a  range of malign activities.  Concurrently, the US Department of State announced it had added 12 individuals and entities to the List of Specified Persons under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”) for being part of, or operating for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sector of the Russian Federation.