December 28, 2023

President Biden issues new executive order to expand US sanctions targeting Russia’s harmful activities

On December 22, 2023, President Biden issued a new executive order, EO 14114, that amends the provisions in EOs 14024 and 14068.  EO 14114 (“Taking Additional Steps With Respect to the Russian Federation’s Harmful Activities”) was issued in response to Russia’s ongoing efforts to evade sanctions and use its military-industrial base to aid its war with Ukraine.  EO 14114 amends EO 14024 by enabling the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to designate foreign financial institutions that 1) conduct or facilitate significant transactions on behalf of persons designated for operating in key sectors of the Russian economy that support Russia’s military-industrial base, or 2) conduct or facilitate significant transactions or provide services involving Russia’s military-industrial base.  The new EO also amends EO 14068 by prohibiting the importation of certain Russian-origin products into the United States.  The categories of products to be subject to the new import prohibitions will be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

In light of the changes that EO 14114 made to EO 14024 and EO 14068, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published a new guidance note for foreign financial institutions to provide them with an overview of the new sanctions authorities.  OFAC also issued the following three determinations concerning the Secretary of the Treasury’s new authorizations and responsibilities:


On December 22, 2023, OFAC also issued General Licenses 83, 84 and 85 pursuant to Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations (“RuHSR”), 31 CFR part 587.  General License 83 temporarily authorizes, until February 21, 2024, the importation of seafood derivative products into the United States pursuant to agreements entered into prior to December 22, 2023.  General License 84 authorizes US financial institutions that maintain correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts for any foreign financial institution that is subject to the new prohibitions pursuant to EO 14024, as amended, to engage in certain transactions for the purpose of closing the account for a period of 10 days beginning on the effective date of the prohibition.  OFAC issued General License 85 to temporarily authorize wind down transactions and the closure of accounts involving Expobank Joint Stock Company, and any entity in which Expobank owns a 50 percent or greater interest.  The transactions are authorized until March 21, 2024, provided that any payment made to a blocked person is deposited into a blocked account in accordance with the RuHSR.

OFAC also issued new Frequently Asked Questions 1146 – 1157 to clarify the new provisions in EO 14114 and the impact of these amendments on EO 14024 and EO 14068.  OFAC also updated FAQ 1126 in order to clarify which sectors of the Russian economy may be blocked under 14024.  FAQ 1070 was updated in order provide an overview of what the gold-related determination, issued pursuant to EO 14068, prohibits.  OFAC also updated FAQ 973 to address the obligations that a US person with an account at a foreign financial institution sanctioned pursuant to Directive 2 under EO 14024 might have.


White House Briefing Room | US Secretary of Treasury’s Statement on New EO | US Department of State Press Release | FAQs 1146-1157 | FAQs 973, 1070, and 1126