U.S. Commerce Department Bars American Exports To 3 Russian Airlines

PARIS, France – The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday moved to block three Russian airlines from receiving exported parts from the U.S. in the department’s first move to punish alleged violations of export controls since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move – which applies to Russian flagship carrier Aeroflat, along with airlines Azur Air and Utair – is an effort to cut off the airlines from the global economy.

It follow U.S. sanctions announced Wednesday against two of Russia’s biggest banks and the adult children of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as U.S. President Joe Biden accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine.

The Commerce Department’s so – called Temporary Denial Orders, which are valid for six months and can be renewed, effectively bar the use of U.S. parts to service the planes, as well as maintenance contracts for planes that are subject to U.S. export regulations.

As result of the orders, the Russian airlines would over time ‘largely be unable to continue flying either internationally or domestically’, said Matthew Axelrod, assistant secretary of Commerce for export enforcement.

‘[I]t’s obviously difficult to keep flying if you can’t service your planes’, Axelrod said Thursday at a press briefing adding that the three Russian airlines would commit ‘imminent’ violations of export controls by flying ‘U.S. origin aircraft’ into Russia without authorization for continuing to fly those aircraft within Russia without authorization.