Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

1096

Answer

OFAC issued Russia-related General License (GL) 53 to authorize U.S. persons to engage in all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the official business of diplomatic or consular missions of the Government of the Russian Federation (“Russian missions”), where the transactions are prohibited by Directive 4 under Executive Order (E.O.) 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.  This authorization applies to transactions related to Russian missions located in or outside the United States.  For example, GL 53 authorizes the payment of salaries to employees of Russian missions that may otherwise be prohibited by Directive 4, such as a payment originated by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation from a non-blocked Russian bank.  Importantly, GL 53 does not authorize any transactions involving blocked persons, including blocked Russian financial institutions; nor does it authorize debits to the accounts on the books of U.S. financial institutions of entities subject to Directive 4.  Non-U.S. persons may engage in transactions that are authorized for U.S. persons under this GL without risk of sanctions under E.O. 14024.

Date Released
November 10, 2022

1094

Answer

No, provided the oil is unloaded at the port of destination prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, January 19, 2023.  Crude oil of Russian Federation origin that is loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, and unloaded at the port of destination prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, January 19, 2023, is not subject to the price cap (also known as the “maritime services policy”).  U.S. service providers can continue to provide services related to the maritime transport of crude oil of Russian Federation origin purchased at a price above the price cap, provided that the crude oil is loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading for maritime transport prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, and unloaded at the port of destination prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, January 19, 2023. 


The following is an example of a permissible transaction in line with the maritime services policy:

  • A U.S. commodities trader signs a contract on November 1, 2022, to purchase crude oil of Russian Federation origin for shipment to a jurisdiction that has not prohibited the import of such crude oil.  The U.S. commodities trader arranges for the oil to be loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading.  The vessel is loaded on December 1, 2022, and a bill of lading is issued.  The oil is shipped and discharged at the port of destination on December 15, 2022.  U.S. insurance companies provide cover for this shipment/voyage and pay out any related claims, as appropriate.

 

As noted in OFAC’s preliminary guidance, OFAC anticipates implementing the maritime services policy by publishing a determination pursuant to Executive Order 14071 that (i) permits the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of services related to the maritime transport of crude oil or petroleum products of Russian Federation origin, where the price of such crude oil or petroleum products of Russian Federation origin does not exceed the price cap and (ii) prohibits such services if the crude oil or petroleum products of Russian Federation origin are purchased above the price cap.  This determination would take effect at 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, with respect to maritime transport of crude oil of Russian Federation origin loaded on or after 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022.

Date Released
October 31, 2022

1092

Answer

Yes.  Multiple Russia-related sanctions authorities authorize sanctions against non-U.S. persons that provide goods, services, or other support for Russia’s military-industrial complex.  For example, OFAC may block any person determined to operate or have operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 of April 15, 2021, “Blocking Property With Respect To Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”  In addition, pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC may block persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of certain sanctionable activities enumerated in E.O. 14024 or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024.  OFAC also has robust targeting authorities pursuant to the Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations (URSR), 31 C.F.R. part 589, which implement multiple authorities that could provide for the blocking of persons who engage in the provision of ammunition or other military goods to the Russian Federation, including persons determined to operate or have operated in the arms or related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or those who have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of persons blocked pursuant to the URSR. 

OFAC is prepared to use its broad targeting authorities against non-U.S. persons that provide ammunition or other support to the Russian Federation’s military-industrial complex, as well as private military companies (PMCs) or paramilitary groups participating in or otherwise supporting the Russian Federation’s unlawful and unjustified attack on Ukraine.  OFAC will continue to target Russia’s efforts to resupply its weapons and sustain its war of aggression against Ukraine, including any foreign persons who assist the Russian Federation in those efforts. 

OFAC and the Department of State have imposed numerous targeted sanctions on the Russian Federation’s military-industrial complex, including on State Corporation Rostec, the cornerstone of Russia’s defense-industrial base, and multiple other key firms.  In addition, the Department of State has identified persons that are part of, or operate for or on behalf of, the defense and intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) (CAATSA 231 List of Specified Persons).  Persons determined to knowingly engage in a significant transaction with those identified on the CAATSA 231 List of Specified Persons are subject to five or more sanctions described in Section 235 of CAATSA.  The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has also imposed highly restrictive controls on the export and reexport of U.S.-origin and certain foreign-produced commodities, software, and technologies to the Russian Federation to cut off its access to inputs and products needed to sustain its military capabilities.  For more information on the impact of sanctions and export controls on Russia’s military-industrial complex, please see “OFAC-BIS Alert: Impact of Sanctions and Export Controls on Russia’s Military-Industrial Complex,” published on October 14, 2022. 
 

Date Released
October 14, 2022

1091

Answer

Yes.  On September 23, G7 Leaders issued a statement condemning Russia’s sham referenda and noting their collective readiness to impose further economic costs on Russia, and on individuals and entities both inside and outside of Russia that provide political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory.  

The United States is prepared to more aggressively use its authorities under existing U.S. sanctions programs to target such persons whose activities may constitute material assistance, sponsorship, financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of (together “material support”), sanctioned persons or sanctionable activity.  Particular areas of targeting focus include entities and individuals in jurisdictions outside Russia that provide political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Ukrainian sovereign territory.  Examples of activities that could be targeted include those related to:

  • Providing material support for the organization of Russia’s sham referenda or annexation, as well as economic or other activity that seeks to legitimize Russia’s sham referenda or annexation;
  • Providing material support to Russia’s military and defense industrial base, including significant transactions by entities in third countries that provide material support to Russia’s military, defense industrial base, and designated entities and persons operating in Russia’s defense industrial base;
  • Attempting to circumvent or evade U.S. sanctions on Russia and Belarus; and
  • Providing material support to Russian entities or individuals subject to certain blocking sanctions.

Multiple Executive Orders (E.O.) — including E.O.s 13660, 14024, and 14065 — authorize the imposition of blocking sanctions on categories of persons — inside or outside Russia — who provide material support for Russia following its sham referenda, purported annexation, and continued occupation of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. 

U.S. sanctions are not designed to target Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, including those living in areas occupied or purportedly annexed by Russia.  In addition, as noted in OFAC’s Fact Sheet: Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine and Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 1007, OFAC sanctions do not target transactions related to the export of food or medicine, the response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the official business of an international organization, or the activities of nongovernmental organizations, as well as personal remittances, telecommunications, internet services, or mail.  

Finally, OFAC sanctions do not prohibit transactions related to the sale of or transport of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin, aside from the importation of such products into the United States.  OFAC will generally not impose sanctions on non-U.S. persons that engage in transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons.  For additional information, please see Russia-related General License (GL) 8C, FAQ 980, and FAQ 1018.  OFAC has issued preliminary guidance on the planned maritime services policy and related price exception for seaborne Russian oil and intends to issue additional guidance in coming weeks. 
 

Date Released
September 30, 2022

1086

Answer

For the purposes of the determination of September 15, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC interprets the term “quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy” to include activities related to products and services in or involving the Russian Federation in research, development, manufacturing, assembling, maintenance, repair, sale, or supply of quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing.  OFAC also interprets the term “quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy” to include any of the following services when related to quantum computing:  infrastructure, web hosting or data processing services; custom computer programming services; computer systems integration design services; computer systems and data processing facilities management services; computing infrastructure, data processing services, web hosting services, and related services; repairing computer, computer peripherals, and communication equipment; other computer-related services; as well as the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing to or from the Russian Federation.

The determination regarding this sector pursuant to E.O. 14024 takes effect immediately.
 

Date Released
September 15, 2022

1085

Answer

No.  The Director of OFAC, in consultation with the State Department, has issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes the imposition of economic sanctions against persons that operate or have operated in the quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy.

A sector determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 exposes persons that operate or have operated in an identified sector to sanctions risk; however, a sector determination does not automatically impose sanctions on all persons who operate or have operated in the sector.  Only persons determined, pursuant to E.O. 14024, by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State, or by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, or their delegates, to operate or have operated in the above-identified sectors are subject to sanctions.

Persons sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in an identified sector are added to one or more OFAC sanctions lists based on the type of sanction, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List), and the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List).
 

Date Released
September 15, 2022

1084

Answer

For the purposes of the determination, OFAC anticipates publishing regulations defining this term to include any of the following services when related to quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing:  infrastructure, web hosting, or data processing services; custom computer programming services; computer systems integration design services; computer systems and data processing facilities management services; computing infrastructure, data processing services, web hosting services, and related services; repairing computer, computer peripherals, or communication equipment; other computer-related services; as well as services related to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing to any person located in the Russian Federation.  

For the purposes of the determination, OFAC also anticipates publishing regulations defining the term “person located in the Russian Federation” as set forth in FAQ 1058, as well as regulations defining the term “Russian person” to mean an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation, or an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation. 
 

Date Released
September 15, 2022

1083

Answer

On September 15, 2022, the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Department of State, issued a determination pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14071, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Quantum Computing Services,” prohibiting the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of certain quantum computing services to any person located in the Russian Federation.  This determination takes effect on October 15, 2022.  This determination excludes from the scope of the prohibited services: (1) any service to an entity located in the Russian Federation that is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a United States person; and (2) any service in connection with the wind down or divestiture of an entity located in the Russian Federation that is not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a Russian person.  For more information, please see FAQ 1084.  

On September 15, 2022, the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Department of State, also issued a sectoral determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes the imposition of economic sanctions on individuals and entities that are determined to operate or have operated in the quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy.  The determination regarding this sector pursuant to E.O. 14024 takes effect immediately.
 

Date Released
September 15, 2022

1082

Answer

NSPK is the operator of Russia’s MIR National Payment System, which clears and settles payments between consumers, merchants, and banks for debit and credit card payments, primarily in the Russian Federation.  NSPK and the MIR National Payment System process transactions for designated Russian banks and may be used to process transactions involving other sanctioned persons or activity under the RuHSR.  Accordingly, those non-U.S. financial institutions that enter into new or expanded agreements with NSPK risk supporting Russia’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions through the expanded use of the MIR National Payment System outside the territory of the Russian Federation.

The RuHSR authorizes OFAC to impose blocking sanctions on persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of (i) any activity sanctionable under the RuHSR, including deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions or (ii) any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the RuHSR.  OFAC is prepared to use these targeting authorities in response to supporters of Russia’s sanctions evasion, including Russia’s efforts to expand the use of NSPK or the MIR National Payment System outside of the territory of the Russian Federation.  

Date Released
September 15, 2022

1081

Answer

No. GL 50 authorizes individuals with accounts at Russian financial institutions blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024 to unblock and lump sum transfer funds to an account at a non-designated financial institution.  Individuals do not need to provide official documentation proving they have closed their account at the blocked Russian financial institution when utilizing the GL.

Individuals who have filed a blocking report with OFAC and are availing themselves of GL 50 must file an unblocking report with OFAC within 10 business days of the unblocking in accordance with 31 CFR § 501.603(b)(3).  For guidance related to filing an initial report of blocked property, an annual report of blocked property, and an unblocking report, please see FAQs 49, 50, and 646, respectively, and 31 C.F.R. § 501.603.  Please note that the annual filing requirement for 2022 applies only to persons holding blocked property as of June 30 of this year.

Date Released
September 15, 2022