On September 30, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed numerous designations upon Russian individuals and entities in response to Russia’s fraudulent attempt to annex parts of Ukraine. Among the designees are 14 persons in Russia’s military-industrial complex, including a Belarusian supplier of Russia’s defense-industrial base; 3 key leaders of Russia’s financial infrastructure; the immediate family members of certain senior Russian officials; and 278 additional members of Russia’s legislature who supported the sham referenda and attempted annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory. OFAC also issued Frequently Asked Question 1091 in an effort to warn international actors of the heightened sanctions risks involved in providing Russia with political or economic support following Russia’s use of sham referenda in an effort to fraudulently annex the Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. The designations were imposed by OFAC pursuant to EO 14024, for operating in the financial services sector of the Russian federation economy, for being an instrumentality of the Government of the Russian Federation (GoR), for being a leader or official in the GoR or the spouse or adult child of a GoR official. The Belarusian supplier was designated pursuant to EO 14038, for being owned or controlled or acting on behalf of the Government of Belarus.
Following the release of a statement by G7 Leaders on September 23, 2022 strongly condemning Russia’s attempted annexation of sovereign territories in Ukraine, OFAC issued FAQ 1091 to emphasize that the US is prepared to aggressively use existing sanctions authorities to target persons, both inside and outside of Russia, who provide material assistance, sponsorship, or support for Russia and, in particular, sanctionable activity related to the sham referenda, attempted annexation, and continuing occupation of the Kherson, Zaporishshya, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. Other activities that OFAC may target include the provision of material support to Russia’s military and defense industrial base, attempts to circumvent or evade US sanctions upon Russia and Belarus, and any attempt to provide material support to Russian entities already subject to blocking sanctions. Persons engaging in these actions could be designated by OFAC pursuant to multiple Executive Orders, including EOs 13660, 14024, and 14065. As part of its warning, OFAC reiterated that US sanctions are not designed to target Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, and US sanctions will generally not be imposed upon non-US persons who engage in transactions that US persons are authorized to perform.
These OFAC actions coincide with additional actions taken by the Commerce and State Departments. On the same day, the Commerce Department issued a rule that adds 57 Russian and Crimean entities to their Entity List for acquiring or attempting to acquire US origin items in support of the Russian military. The Commerce Department also issued a warning that it is prepared to aggressively apply certain export controls against entities in third countries who provide material support to the military and industrial sectors of Russia or Belarus. In addition, the State Department took steps to impose visa restrictions on 910 individuals, including members of the Russian military, Belarusian military officials, and Russia’s proxies for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence. The State Department also designated Russian national, Ochu-Suge Mongush, for torturing a Ukrainian prisoner of war. As a result, Mongush and his immediate family members are ineligible to enter the United States.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of this designee within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated person. In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.