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Russia

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President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran will withdraw from certain commitments agreed in the 2015 nuclear agreement; this announcement comes a year after the agreement was abandoned by the US, leading to the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran. In his 8 May 2019 announcement, Hassan Rouhani declared that Iran will stop exporting its surplus enriched uranium. This decision is contrary to the agreement, under which Iran is required to sell its surplus enriched…

On April 30, 2019, the Department of Defense, Defense Acquisition Regulations System, published in the Federal Register an interim rule [Docket DARS-2019-0016] amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 that prohibits acquisition of certain magnets and tungsten from North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran.

On 5 April 2019, the WTO circulated the panel report in Russia – Measures Concerning Traffic In Transit (DS512). The decision is the first time that a WTO panel has had to decide the extent of WTO jurisdiction over a claim by a Member that its actions were appropriate under Article XXI, the essential security exemption from WTO rules. Ukraine brought the dispute in September 2016 after the Russian Federation imposed restrictions preventing Ukraine from using roads and railways to trade goods with several former Soviet republics. Ukraine claimed that the measures appear to be inconsistent with:

On 18 March 2019, the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that Australia was joining the US, UK, Canada and EU member states in imposing targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against seven Russian individuals for their role in the interception and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels that were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait. Australia is concerned by this escalation of tensions in the Sea of Azov in November 2018.

On March 5, 2019, the Federal Register published Presidential Notice of March 4, 2019 Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Ukraine which extends for an additional year the national emergency first declared by Executive Order (EO) 13660 (March 6, 2014) and expanded by EO 13661 (March 16, 2014) and EO 13662 (March 20, 2014). Additional steps were taken in EO 13685 (December 19, 2014) and EO 13849 (September 20, 2018). The national emergency…

On December 19, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) submitted a letter to congressional leaders (“Congressional Letter”) notifying Congress of its intent to terminate the sanctions imposed on En+ Group plc (“En+”), UC Rusal plc (“RUSAL”), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (“ESE”) in 30 days.  On the same day, OFAC announced new sanctions against a number of individuals and entities for their involvement in a range of malign activities.  Concurrently, the US Department of State announced it had added 12 individuals and entities to the List of Specified Persons under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”) for being part of, or operating for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sector of the Russian Federation.