The United States once again ratcheted up sanctions against Russia in an attempt to further choke off the funds and military supplies the country is using in its war against Ukraine.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of State, in concert with G7 partners and other countries, combined to levy more than 300 sanctions against individuals and entities believed to have assisted Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
The restrictions, announced Friday, targeted “those attempting to circumvent or evade sanctions and other economic measures against Russia, the channels Russia uses to acquire critical technology, its future energy extraction capabilities, and Russia’s financial services sector,” said OFAC.
Also on Friday, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said in a joint alert with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) it added four new rules to its export administration regulations (EAR) that ban or restrict “hundreds of low-level items,” including semiconductors going to Iran for use in Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles being provided to Russia.
Nine categories of electronic items newly added to the EAR list and headed to Russia, Belarus, the Crimea region of Ukraine, or Iran would require a license, according to the alert.
“Our collective efforts have cut Russia off from key inputs it needs to equip its military and is drastically limiting the revenue the Kremlin receives to fund its war machine,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the agency’s release. “Today’s actions will further tighten the vise on Putin’s ability to wage his barbaric invasion and will advance our global efforts to cut off Russian attempts to evade sanctions.”
FinCEN and the BIS asked financial institutions to double down on their monitoring for attempts to evade Russian sanctions. Their alert presents the real-life example of two men from Kansas who tried to illegally export aviation equipment to Russia via third-party countries and were arrested.
The alert also lists nine new transactions and behavioral red flags for banks, such as a customer who appears to be significantly overpaying for a commodity or transactions of smaller-volume payments from the same foreign bank account to multiple, similar suppliers of dual-use products.
“As no single red flag is necessarily indicative of illicit or suspicious activity, all the surrounding facts and circumstances should be considered before determining whether a specific transaction is suspicious or associated with potential export control evasion,” the agencies said.