Resources on navigating Russian sanctions legislation applied by the U.S. government since 2014.
Last Published: 1/17/2018
In response to inquiries from the business community, we have compiled the following resources for use in understanding the multiple components of Russian sanctions legislation applied by the U.S. government since 2014.  This information is not comprehensive and is subject to ongoing updates.  We strongly urge U.S. firms conducting business in Russia to perform careful due diligence and seek legal counsel when vetting potential transactions and counterparties.  Questions on specific transactions should be directed to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Department of State, and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security at the numbers/addresses listed below.  

For questions related to business development in Russia, contact the U.S. Commercial Service Moscow to discuss the range of services designed to promote the export of U.S. goods and services. 

HISTORY OF RUSSIA SANCTIONS AND CAATSA: Russia-related sanctions have been implemented under multiple legal authorities in the form of executive orders and public laws since 2014.  On August 2nd, 2017 the President signed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which codified and expanded sanctions announced from 2014-2016 on certain Russian entities and sectors. CAATSA includes sectoral sanctions affecting the financial, defense, and energy transactions, and “blocking sanctions” which prohibit business with certain individuals and entities.   

As of November 2017, guidance issued for sections of CAATSA does not represent new sanctions actions, but is intended to provide insight regarding planned or potential implementation of sanctions.


RESOURCES FOR EXPORTERS: Implementation and enforcement of sanctions legislation is a shared and partitioned responsibility across the U.S government. The Departments of State and Treasury have published numerous public FAQ’s and links to components of the legislation that serve as extremely valuable resources for conducting initial due diligence. As of November 7th  2017, implementing guidance for sections 225, 231, and 232 has been published by the Department of State while guidance on sections 223, 223(a), 226, 228, and 233 is available on OFAC’s website.  

LINK: U.S. Department of the Treasury Resource Center on CAATSA: 
1. Section 223 FAQ – Sectoral Sanctions Concerning the Financial and Energy Sector (Directives I, II, and IV of Executive Order 13662).
2. Sec 223 (a) FAQ  - Railways, Metal, and Mining.
3. Sec 226 FAQ – Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Financial Institutions
4. Sec 228 FAQ – Mandatory Imposition of Sanctions With Respect to Certain Transactions with Foreign Sanctions Evaders and Serious Human Rights Abusers in the Russian Federation
5. Sec 233 FAQ - Sanctions with Respect to Investment in or Facilitation of Privatization of State-owned Assets by the Russian Federation
6. Ukraine/Russia related Directives.

LINK: U.S. Department of the Treasury Resource Center on Ukraine-Russia Sanctions. This site contains quick reference guides in addition to the following resources:
1. Hundreds of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about its sanctions programs and related policies including questions related to entities owned by persons whose property and interests are blocked (50% rule).
2. The Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List includes persons determined by OFAC to be operating in sectors of the Russian economy identified by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Executive Order 13662.
3. Advisories to the public on important issues related to the sanctions programs it administers.  While these documents may focus on specific industries and activities, they should be reviewed by any party interested in OFAC compliance.
4. Interpretive guidance on specific issues related to the sanctions programs it administers.  These interpretations of OFAC policy are sometimes published in response to a public request for guidance or may be released proactively by OFAC in order to address a complex topic. 
5. Apply for an OFAC License Online -  Authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited.    
6. Guidance and statements on specific licensing policies as they relate to the Ukraine-related Sanctions.
7. General licenses in order to authorize activities that would otherwise be prohibited with regard to Ukraine.  General licenses allow all US persons to engage in the activity described in the general license without needing to apply for a specific license.
8. Legal Framework: The Ukraine\Russia-related sanctions program represents the implementation of multiple legal authorities.  Some of these authorities are in the form of an executive order issued by the President. Other authorities are public laws (statutes) passed by The Congress. 

1. Implementing guidance for Section 225: Guidance on the imposition of sanctions with respect to Russian crude oil projects.
2. Implementing guidance for Section 231: Included is a list of persons/entities that the Secretary of State has determined are part of, or operate for or on behalf of the defense or intelligence sectors of the Russian Federation.
3. Implementing guidance for Section 232: Guidance on sanctions with respect to development of pipelines in the Russian Federation.
4. : Links to Executive Orders, Press Releases, and Legislation.

EXPORT CONTROLS: Restrictions on transactions with entities in the Russia Federation are not solely determined by sanctions, as certain products are subject to export controls independent of the counterparty.  There are two U.S. Government agencies that perform the vast majority of export licensing and controls: 

1. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Control (DDTC) ( implements the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) through the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to control the export of defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML).
2. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) ( regulates the export, re-export and transfer (in-country) of dual- use goods, software, and technology pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  BIS has imposed export restrictions targeted at Russia’s energy and defense sectors.
a. BIS has published guidance on due diligence to prevent unauthorized transshipment/reexporation of controlled items to Russia: 
b. Federal Register Notices and Frequently Asked Questions and guidance related to BIS’s Russia sanctions are located at:

CONSOLIDATED SCREENING LIST is a list of parties for which the United States Government maintains restrictions on certain exports, reexports or transfers of items.  Verifying whether a prospective counterparty is subject to sanctions is an essential step in the due diligence process.  

Note: A hit against this list is not does not necessarily mean the transaction is prohibited.  Results will specify the sanction/restriction in question and additional factors may weigh in the determination of whether the product or scope of the transaction is permissible.  Conversely, the absence of a result not confirmation a transaction is authorized as sectoral sanctions or export controls could prohibit an agreement with a non-sanctioned entity.

1. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control: Contact OFAC on any question regarding the specific application of sanctions to ongoing or proposed business; OFAC’s Hot Line: 
a. (800) 540-6322 (toll free)
b. (202) 622-2490
2. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) ( For specific questions concerning licensing requirements or submitting a license application, contact BIS’ Office of Exporter Services regional offices:
a. (202) 482-4811 - Outreach and Educational Services Division (in Washington, DC)
b. (949) 660-0144 - Western Regional Office (located in Irvine, CA)
c. (408) 998-8806 - Northern California branch (located in San Jose, CA)
3. The U.S. Department of State: Questions pertaining to section 231 of CAATSA can be directed to

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