US Commerce Department to Expand Export Restrictions to Russia in Response to Chemical Weapons Poisoning.
These restrictions will be implemented by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce pursuant to a determination of March 2, 2021 by the Secretary of State that the Government of Russia has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or substances lethal chemicals or biological weapons against their own nationals.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that by deploying illegal nerve agents against dissidents, both within and outside its borders, the Russian government has acted in flagrant violation of its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention and has directly targeted its own citizens already those of other countries at mortal risk.
A nerve gas or nerve agent is a class of organic chemical compound that contains phosphoric acid (organophosphates) capable of collapsing the mechanism by which the nervous system sends messages to the organs of the body.
As chemical weapons, nerve agents are classified as weapons of mass destruction by the United Nations, in accordance with Resolution 687, and their production and storage are prohibited by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.
As such, the Commerce Department said it was committed to preventing Russia from accessing sensitive US technologies that could be diverted to its malicious chemical weapons activities.
Background on Russia
On March 4, 2018, the Russian government deployed a Novichok agent in an attack on former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the UK.
In response, the United States government imposed two sets of sanctions against Russia pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Elimination of War Act of 1991 (CBW Act) in August 2018 and August 2019.
On August 20, 2020, the Russian government redeployed a Novichok nerve agent, this time against Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny, justifying a new determination by the Secretary of State and additional sanctions under the CBW Law.
In accordance with the determination of March 2, 2021 of the Secretary of State and the imposition, as of March 18, 2021, of new sanctions, BIS will review license applications under a presumption of denial of exports and re-exports of controlled articles for national security reasons (NS articles) destined for Russia.
As of March 18, 2021, BIS will also suspend the License Exceptions Service and Replacement Parts and Equipment (RPL), Unrestricted Technology and Software (TSU) and Additional Permitting Re-exports (APR) for NS items destined for Russia .
However, certain categories of external sales and re-exports will be allowed pursuant to a partial exemption from the application of sanctions for reasons of national security that will allow exports and re-exports to Russia of NS items made under License Exceptions Imports, exports, re-exports and temporary transfers (TMP); Governments, International Organizations, International Inspections under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the International Space Station (GOV); Baggage (BAG); Aircraft, Ships, and Spacecraft (AVS), and Encryption Commodity, Software, and Technology (ENC).