Background

The U.S. imposed Feb. 21 new restrictions on trade with two regions of Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized them as independent states. The White House said the measures are designed to deny Russia the chance to profit from its “blatant violations of international law” and “are not directed at the people of Ukraine or the Ukrainian government.”

An executive order issued by President Biden, which the White House said “is distinct from the swift and severe economic measures we are prepared to issue with allies and partners in response to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine,” prohibits the following.

- new investment in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DNR and LNR) regions of Ukraine by a U.S. person wherever located

- imports into the U.S., directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from these regions

- the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the U.S., or by a U.S. person wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to these regions

- any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a U.S. person wherever located of a transaction by a foreign person that would be covered by the above prohibitions if performed by a U.S. person or within the U.S.

Similar restrictions may be imposed on other regions of Ukraine as appropriate.

The EO also provides authority to impose sanctions on persons determined (1) to operate or have operated since Feb. 21 in these regions, (2) to be or have been since Feb. 21 a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of an entity operating in these regions, (3) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this EO, or (4) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this EO.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued six general licenses to ensure that humanitarian and other related activity in these regions can continue. These licenses allow a short-term wind down of activities; exports to these regions of food, medicine, and medical devices; and the continued operation of telecommunications, mail, and Internet services.

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