Trade Attys React to Historic Expansion of Russia Sanctions
International Trade attorney Antonia Tzinova spoke to Law360 about the historic expansion of Russia sanctions. Never before has an economy with the size and global impact of Russia been subject to the types of forceful sanctions and export controls that several countries invoked in response to the invasion of Ukraine, and now trade attorneys are bracing for the aftershock as they hustle to navigate challenges that the evolving measures present.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden expanded a freeze on the assets of Russian oligarchs and state-owned banks, placed new limits on state-owned energy, logistics, and shipping firms' ability to raise money, and instituted a far-reaching blockade that's expected to halve Russia's access to semiconductors and other crucial technology to hamstring the nation's military and industrial capacity.
While the tools at his disposal are not new — Russia has been under targeted, open-ended U.S. sanctions since 2014 — Biden is using a much bigger and more powerful toolbox as he and international partners unhitch Russia from the world economy.
Moving forward, deals with even a hint of Russian ties will need strict scrutiny, according to Ms. Tzinova.
"If anything smells like Russia or Ukraine — the parts of Ukraine that are subject to these prohibitions — you just need to screen all the parties to make sure that they're not designated persons and figure out what is the prohibition with respect to that particular person," Ms. Tzinova commented shortly after Biden's announcement on Thursday. "You just need maybe a wholesale screen on all your counterparties, wholesalers, et cetera, just to make sure that you're not dealing with a designated person going forward."
The attorneys noted the human toll that Putin's attack, and the resulting sanctions, will have not just locally, but around the world.
"The Russian people will suffer because they will be cut off from a lot," said Ms. Tzinova, who is originally from Bulgaria. "Oil prices are likely to go up in the U.S. It's going to be kind of a chain reaction. Most likely, we will then see higher inflation. Everybody is going to suffer."
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