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The United States is quietly blocking exports of sensitive dual-use materials and technologies to Russia, an apparent response to its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Earlier this week the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees sensitive exports especially to US rivals, revealed on its website that it is refusing to issue licenses for sales of goods to Russia.
A terse statement on the website reads:
"Since March 1, 2014, BIS has placed a hold on the issuance of licenses that would authorize the export or reexport of items to Russia. BIS will continue this practice until further notice."
The statement was posted after the US announced earlier this month sanctions on Russia, including asset freezes and visa bans on top officials in the Russian government and several tycoons close to president Vladimir Putin.
The Commerce Department action affects a significant level of US exports.
Last year the BIS approved nearly $1.5 billion in sales to Russia, triple the level of the previous year.
The goods regulated by the agency include police and military gear and hardware, toxic chemicals, explosives igniters, various electronics and software, and other sensitive equipment and materials.
The policy change was first noted in a posting Tuesday on the website International Trade Law News by Doug Jacobson and Michael Burton, trade lawyers at Jacobson Burton PLLC.
They also said they understood that the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls is holding up export authorizations to Russia, but the directorate has not said anything public on the issue.