WASHINGTON – Following the “Tackling Food Insecurity: The Challenge and Call to Action” event convened today by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued additional public guidance, “Fact Sheet: Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine”. This guidance outlines the many humanitarian and food-related authorizations issued by OFAC in support of people impacted by Russia’s war. At today’s meeting, attendees discussed the need for an urgent response to the threat of rising food insecurity exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. As part of that response, this guidance provides consolidated information for financial institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and market participants to more easily assess whether they are engaging in authorized or exempt transactions. In addition, OFAC issued a new Russia-related general license (GL) to authorize transactions related to certain activities of NGOs in Russia and Ukraine.
Beyond its toll on human life, Russia’s war against Ukraine is causing significant harm in the region and the rest of the world. It has disrupted supply chains of agricultural commodities, destroyed agricultural and transportation infrastructure in Ukraine, and driven up food and energy costs, putting millions at increased risk of food insecurity. Treasury is deeply concerned about the risks to global food supplies and food prices brought on by Putin’s war at a time when many emerging market and developing countries are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of Russia’s further invasion in February 2022, the United States and its allies and partners have sought to hold Russia accountable through expansive financial pressure while seeking to minimize spillover effects around the world. To that end, OFAC has issued many general licenses (GLs) to mitigate unintended effects of sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia. In particular, Treasury has focused on preserving global food supply chains through GL 6A, which provides, among other things, a carve-out for transactions related to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities to, from, or transiting Russia.
Across multiple sanctions programs, Treasury has also issued humanitarian-related or other GLs in support of the people impacted by Russia’s war related to:
- Telecommunications and internet-based communications
- COVID-19 and clinical trials
- NGO activities
- Personal remittances
- Personal maintenance of U.S. individuals
- Emergency medical services
- U.S. government and international organization official business
- Overflight payments, emergency landings, and air ambulance services
- Civil maritime services in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions
- Journalistic activities