Biden Issues Additional Sanctions Against Russia

President Biden Issues Executive Order Targeting Russian Federation’s Activities

WASHINGTON — President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a new executive order on Thursday, December 22, 2023, targeting the Russian Federation’s actions, citing the country’s utilization of its military-industrial base to undermine security in regions critical to the United States’ national security.

The executive order, invoked under the authority vested in the President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act, highlighted concerns regarding the Russian Federation’s reliance on the international financial system for procuring dual-use and other critical items from third countries.

In a bid to counter these activities, President Biden amended Executive Order 14024, expanding the scope of sanctions against the Russian Federation. The amendments include provisions allowing the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with other relevant authorities, to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions found to conduct significant transactions for designated individuals operating within sectors such as technology, defense, aerospace, and manufacturing in the Russian Federation’s economy.

The order further enables the Secretary of the Treasury, in collaboration with other key officials, to prohibit or impose strict conditions on accounts held by foreign financial institutions in the United States. Additionally, it permits the blocking of property and interests in property held by such institutions within the United States or under the control of any U.S. person.

Furthermore, the order prohibits donations to individuals or entities subjected to sanctions, aiming to prevent actions that could compromise addressing the national emergency declared in the order.

The executive order also strengthens import prohibitions, encompassing products of Russian Federation origin such as fish, seafood, alcoholic beverages, diamonds, and other designated products, and mandates the Secretaries of relevant departments to enforce these restrictions swiftly.

In a statement, President Biden underscored the necessity of these measures in dealing with the ongoing national emergency, emphasizing the immediate implementation of the order without prior notice to affected persons to ensure its effectiveness.

The White House highlighted that the order’s purpose is to enforce strict measures against Russian activities while complying with applicable laws and ensuring the responsibilities of executive departments and agencies in executing the order’s directives.

The executive order is part of a series of actions taken by the Biden administration aimed at addressing concerns related to the Russian Federation’s conduct, with a focus on safeguarding U.S. national security interests.

Note:

The United States has imposed sanctions against Russia for several reasons, often related to Russia’s actions that are perceived as undermining international peace, security, or human rights. Some key reasons include:

  1. Ukraine Crisis: Sanctions were imposed following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its subsequent support for separatist movements in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. and other Western countries view this as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia also invaded Ukraine in 2022, and is accused of widespread war crimes.
  2. Interference in Elections and Cyberattacks: Allegations of Russian interference in U.S. elections, including the 2016 presidential election, and cyberattacks targeting U.S. government institutions and infrastructure have led to sanctions against Russian entities and individuals suspected of involvement.
  3. Human Rights Violations: Sanctions have been imposed due to concerns over human rights abuses within Russia, including crackdowns on political dissent, suppression of free speech, and treatment of opposition figures like Alexei Navalny.
  4. Support for Syria and Other Regimes: Russia’s support for regimes deemed oppressive or involved in human rights violations, such as Syria’s Assad regime, has also triggered sanctions from the U.S. and other countries.
  5. Aggressive Actions and Destabilization: Russia’s aggressive actions or destabilizing behavior in regions like Europe and its involvement in conflicts in places like Syria have contributed to the imposition of sanctions by the U.S. and its allies.
  6. Alleged Poisonings and Assassinations: Alleged poisonings and assassinations of Russian dissidents or critics, both within Russia and abroad, have resulted in targeted sanctions against individuals and entities believed to be involved.

December 22, 2023
EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

TAKING ADDITIONAL STEPS WITH RESPECT TO THE 
RUSSIAN FEDERATION’S HARMFUL ACTIVITIES
     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

     I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, in view of the Russian Federation’s continued use of its military-industrial base to aid its effort to undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security, including its reliance on the international financial system for the procurement of dual-use and other critical items from third countries, and in order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 14024 of April 15, 2021, expanded by Executive Order 14066 of March 8, 2022, and relied on for additional steps taken in Executive Order 14039 of August 20, 2021, Executive Order 14068 of March 11, 2022, and Executive Order 14071 of April 6, 2022, hereby order:

     Section 1.  Amendments to Executive Order 14024.  Executive Order 14024 is hereby amended by redesignating section 11 of that order as section 12 and adding a new section 11 to read as follows:

   “Sec. 11.  (a)  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, and with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce, is hereby authorized to impose on a foreign financial institution the sanctions described in subsection (b) of this section, upon determining that the foreign financial institution has:           (i)   conducted or facilitated any significant transaction or transactions for or on behalf of any person designated pursuant to section 1(a)(i) of this order for operating or having operated in the technology, defense and related materiel, construction, aerospace, or manufacturing sectors of the Russian Federation economy, or other such sectors as may be determined to support Russia’s military-industrial base by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State; or
          (ii)  conducted or facilitated any significant transaction or transactions, or provided any service, involving Russia’s military-industrial base, including the sale, supply, or transfer, directly or indirectly, to the Russian Federation of any item or class of items as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce.

     (b)  With respect to any foreign financial institution determined to meet the criteria set forth in subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may:

          (i)   prohibit the opening of, or prohibit or impose strict conditions on the maintenance of, correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States; or

          (ii)  block all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of such foreign financial institution, and provide that such property and interests in property may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.

     (c)  The prohibitions in subsection (b) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.

     (d)  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the types of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (b)(ii) of this section would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by subsection (b)(ii) of this section.

     (e)  The prohibitions in subsection (b)(ii) of this section include:

          (i)   the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (b)(ii) of this section; and

          (ii)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

      (f)  For purposes of this section, the term “foreign financial institution” means any foreign entity that is engaged in the business of accepting deposits; making, granting, transferring, holding, or brokering loans or credits; purchasing or selling foreign exchange, securities, futures or options; or procuring purchasers and sellers thereof, as principal or agent.  It includes depository institutions; banks; savings banks; money services businesses; operators of credit card systems; trust companies; insurance companies; securities brokers and dealers; futures and options brokers and dealers; forward contract and foreign exchange merchants; securities and commodities exchanges; clearing corporations; investment companies; employee benefit plans; dealers in precious metals, stones, or jewels; and holding companies, affiliates, or subsidiaries of any of the foregoing.  The term does not include the international financial institutions identified in 22 U.S.C. 262r(c)(2), the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the North American Development Bank, or any other international financial institution so notified by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.”.

     Sec. 2.  Additional Amendments to Executive Order 14024.  Executive Order 14024 is hereby amended by striking section 7 and inserting, in lieu thereof, the following:
  
     “Sec. 7.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 or section 11 of this order.”.
 
    Sec. 3.  Amendments to Executive Order 14068.  Executive Order 14068 is hereby amended as follows:

     (a)  in section 1, by striking subsection (a)(i) and inserting, in lieu thereof, the following:

           (i)    the importation and entry into the United States, including importation for admission
into a foreign trade zone located in the United States, of:

               (A)  the following products of Russian Federation origin:  fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; alcoholic beverages; non-industrial diamonds; and any other products of Russian Federation origin, as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce;

               (B)  categories of any of the following products as may 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, that were mined, extracted, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Russian Federation, or harvested in waters under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation or by Russia-flagged vessels, notwithstanding whether such products have been incorporated or substantially transformed into other products outside of the Russian Federation:  fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; diamonds; and any other such products as may 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;  

               (C)  products containing any of the products subject to the prohibitions of subsections (a)(i)(A)-(B) of this section, as may 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; and

               (D)  products subject to the prohibitions of subsections (a)(i)(A)-(C) of this section that transited through or were exported from or by the Russian Federation, as may 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;”;

     (b)  in section 1, by adding new subsections (c)-(f) to read as follows:

    “(c)  The prohibitions in subsection (a)(i) of this section apply with respect to:

           (i)   products subject to the prohibitions of subsection (a)(i)(A) of this section imported on or after the date of this order or the date specified in any determinations made pursuant to that subsection, unless otherwise specified or authorized; and

           (ii)  products subject to the prohibitions of subsections (a)(i)(B)–(D) of this section imported on or after the date specified in any determinations made pursuant to those subsections, unless otherwise specified or authorized.

     (d)  The Secretary of Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the Treasury, shall prescribe rules and regulations to collect, including through an authorized electronic data interchange system as appropriate, any documentation or information as may be necessary to enforce subsections (a)(i)(B)-(D) and (c) of this section as expeditiously as possible.”;

     (c)  in section 4, by striking “and” at the end of subsection 4(c), by striking the period at the end of subsection (d) and replacing it with “; and”, and by inserting the following new subsection after subsection (d):     

     “(e)  the term “diamond” includes any diamonds classifiable under subheadings 7102.10, 7102.31, and 7102.39 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States and under any other subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States specified in determinations made pursuant to section (1)(a)(i) of this order.”; and

     (d)  by striking section 5 and inserting, in lieu thereof, the following:

     “Sec. 5.  The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, are hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Homeland Security, respectively.  All executive departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to implement this order.”.

     Sec. 4.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

          (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

          (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other persons.


                              JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
 
THE WHITE HOUSE,
    December 22, 2023.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2023

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Expands U.S. Sanctions Authorities to Target Financial Facilitators of Russia’s War Machine

Today, President Biden intends to sign a new Executive Order (E.O.) that strengthens U.S. sanctions authorities against financial facilitators of Russia’s war machine.  The E.O. will make clear to foreign financial institutions that they risk losing access to the U.S. financial system if they facilitate significant transactions relating to Russia’s military industrial base.  The E.O. will also provide authority to broaden U.S. import bans on certain Russian goods. 

In response to Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, the Biden Administration has worked actively with our allies and partners around the world to hold Russia accountable for its brutal and unjust war and to undercut Russia’s efforts to ramp up its military capacity.  The United States has imposed sanctions and export control measures against thousands of entities and individuals, including on multinational procurement networks that Russia uses to acquire key defense-related and goods from abroad.  To counter evasion of these steps and degrade Putin’s war machine, the Biden Administration has coordinated with partners to target companies in third countries and has dispatched teams globally to engage directly with foreign governments, companies, and financial institutions to share information and highlight sanctions risks.  The United States has been clear: those who are supplying goods or processing transactions that materially support Russia’s military industrial base are complicit in Russia’s brutal violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

With this E.O., the United States is taking action consistent with the G7 Leaders’ statement of December 6, 2023, which warned that we will work to further curtail Russia’s efforts to use the international financial system to facilitate expansion of its military industrial base.

Targeting financial institutions that support Russia’s military industrial base

As Russia creates cutouts and front companies to circumvent our restrictions and uses both witting and unwitting financial intermediaries, the new E.O. provides additional tools to root out Russia’s procurement networks.  This E.O. will amend Executive Order 14024 to expand U.S. authority to sanction:

  • Financial institutions determined to have conducted or facilitated any significant transaction for or on behalf of companies or individuals the United States has sanctioned for operating in sectors of the Russian economy that support its military industrial base; and
     
  • Financial institutions determined to have conducted or facilitated any significant transaction, or provided any service, involving Russia’s military industrial base, including the sale, supply, or transfer to Russia of certain critical items. 

The Department of the Treasury will issue a determination that includes a list of critical items.  A financial institution sanctioned under one of these criteria will face either full blocking sanctions or the loss of, or strict conditions on, their U.S. correspondent accounts.

Diamonds imports

To curtail Russia’s revenue from other sectors, the E.O. will also make it more difficult for specific Russian goods to enter the United States after being modified in a third country.  In the coming months, the United States and our partners intend to introduce import restrictions on certain diamonds mined, processed, or produced in Russia, building on an existing U.S. ban on the importation of Russian-origin diamonds.  Today’s E.O. amends Executive Order 14068 to provide the authority to ban, following a determination from appropriate U.S. departments and agencies, the importation of certain products mined, extracted, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in Russia, even if these products are then transformed in a third country. 

Seafood imports

Similarly, the amendment to E.O. 14068 will provide the authority to ban, following a determination from appropriate U.S. departments and agencies, the importation of certain products harvested in Russian waters or by Russia-flagged vessels, even if these products are then transformed in a third country.  The Department of the Treasury intends to issue a determination identifying specific types of seafood that will be subject to this prohibition.

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