On December 18, 2014, President Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (UFSA) into law, broadening the Administration’s authority to impose sanctions in response to continued Russian activity in Ukraine.  Although the legislation authorizes the President to increase sanctions, he has stated that “this does not signal a change in the Administration’s sanctions policy” and the Administration does not intend to impose further sanctions at this time.

The bipartisan bill, which was originally introduced in the Senate by Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menedez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN), includes the following provisions:

  • Directs the President to levy sanctions against Rosoboronexport and other defense firms that contribute to the transfer of defense articles to Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova;
  • Authorizes the President to impose sanctions against individuals who knowingly invest in a Russian crude oil project;
  • Authorizes the President to create additional licensing requirements through the Bureau of Industry and Security at Department of Commerce or the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Department of Treasury;
  • Directs the President to levy sanctions on Gazprom if it is determined that the company is withholding natural gas supplies from NATO countries or Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova;
  • Authorizes the President to provide Ukraine with defense articles, services, and training to counter offensive weapons and reestablish its territorial sovereignty; and
  • Directs the President to work with Ukraine to develop a plan to increase its energy security by reducing its dependence on natural gas from Russia