In an effort to further cut off the cash and military equipment that Russia is deploying in its conflict with Ukraine, the United States increased sanctions against it.
More than 300 sanctions have been imposed against people and organizations believed to have helped Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of State of the U.S. Treasury Department.
The restrictions, which were made public on Friday, were directed at "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," according to OFAC.
On Friday as well, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department announced that it had added four new regulations 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 supplied to Russia.
The alert stated that a license would be necessary for nine categories of newly added electronic goods that were destined for Russia, Belarus, the Crimea region of Ukraine, or Iran.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated in the agency's announcement that "our collective efforts have cut off Russia from key inputs it needs to equip its military and is drastically limiting the revenue the Kremlin receives to fund its war machine. 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."
Financial institutions were urged by FinCEN and the BIS to intensify their surveillance for attempts to circumvent Russian sanctions. Their warning gives the example of two Kansas men who were arrested while attempting to smuggle aviation equipment to Russia through third-party nations.
A customer who appears to be disproportionately overpaying for a commodity or transactions of smaller-volume payments from the same foreign bank account to many, similar providers of dual-use products are only two of the nine new transactions and behavioral red flags listed in the alert for banks.
"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 continued.
By fLEXI tEAM