Despite statements made earlier in the week to the contrary (see recent posting), President Obama late in the afternoon on December 19, 2014 moved to match new European sanctions by issuing an Executive Order that imposes comprehensive sanctions against the Crimea region of Ukraine (Crimea) and provides the authority for blocking certain persons in connection with the situation in Crimea.  The President indicated that the Order is “intended to provide clarity to U.S. corporations doing business in the region and reaffirm that the United States will not accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.”

  • New investment in Crimea by U.S. persons, which includes entities organized under the laws of the United States and their non-U.S. branches, persons located in the United States (even temporarily) and U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens (wherever located or employed);
  • The import into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services or technology from Crimea;
  • The export, reexport, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by a U.S. person, of any goods, services or technology to Crimea; and
  • Any approval, financing, facilitation or guarantee by a U.S. person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States.

The Order also provides expansive authority to block any person determined by the U.S. Government to:

  • Operate in Crimea,
  • Be a leader of an entity operating in Crimea
  • Be owned or controlled by, or have acted on behalf of any person which is blocked under the Executive Order, or
  • Have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, materials, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person who is blocked under the Executive Order.

In addition to the Executive Order, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) simultaneously issued General License No. 4 authorizing certain exports and reexports to Crimea of agricultural commodities, medicines, medical supplies and associated replacement parts.  The conditions set forth in the General License resemble those required for the Iran Sanctions Program.

OFAC also designated a number of individuals and entities as Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).  The new list which includes 17 individuals and 7 entities is available here.