How the United States is Holding Russia and Belarus to Account
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Last updated: February 24, 2023
The United States, along with its allies and partners, works to ensure the Russian Federation and the Lukashenka regime in Belarus pay a severe economic and diplomatic price for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
With our allies and partners, we have taken these actions:
- Applied powerful sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institutions and its sovereign wealth fund.
- Made it difficult for Russia to find funding for its war beyond its borders.
- Choked off Russian imports of key technologies.
- Targeted the financial networks and assets of Russian and Belarusian elites, including President Putin and members of his security council.
There is nowhere for individuals or entities who support the unprovoked war to hide. We already see the effects of these actions, as the Russian and Belarusian economies stumble. With our allies and partners, we will continue to take strong economic and diplomatic actions.
We are also working with partners, including the Ukrainian authorities and international institutions, to pursue justice and accountability for war crimes and other atrocities committed in Ukraine. We will use every tool available to promote accountability for these acts, including criminal prosecutions.
These U.S. actions, to date, hold Russia and Belarus to account.
Justice and Accountability
Based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. As with any alleged crime, a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases.
That is why we are supporting a range of mechanisms to document and promote justice and accountability for war crimes and other atrocities committed in Ukraine. This includes helping to build Ukraine’s domestic capacity by supporting the work of the War Crimes Units under the Office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. It includes supporting international investigative and accountability-related mechanisms, including the robust new UN Commission of Inquiry, which we helped create, to investigate human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by Russia’s forces. We joined 44 other OSCE countries in launching an Expert Mission, with Ukraine’s support, to examine reported human rights abuses or violations and violations of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes, by Russia’s forces in Ukraine. And it includes supporting the important work of human rights documenters in Ukraine.
We are committed to pursuing accountability for such acts using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions.
- November 21, 2022
Briefing on Justice and Accountability for Russia’s Atrocities in Ukraine
- November 18, 2022
Accountability for War Crimes and Other Atrocities in Ukraine: Recent Reporting on Unjust Detentions and Disappearances in Kherson Oblast
- September 28, 2022
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing “From Nuremberg to Ukraine: Accountability for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity”
- March 23, 2022
War Crimes by Russia’s Forces in Ukraine
- Ukraine Advisory Group (ACA)
Sweeping U.S. financial sanctions will impose costs on the Russian and Belarusian economies. Export controls and airspace restrictions will cut off Russia’s and Belarus’ access to vital technological inputs and atrophy their industrial base. These actions will undercut Russia’s and Belarus’ strategic ambitions to exert influence on the world stage.
- February 24, 2023
FACT SHEET: On One Year Anniversary of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Biden Administration Announces Actions to Support Ukraine and Hold Russia Accountable
- The United States Imposes Additional Sweeping Costs on Russia
- The United States Takes Sweeping Actions on the One Year Anniversary of Russia’s War Against Ukraine
- Targeting Key Sectors, Evasion Efforts, and Military Supplies, Treasury Expands and Intensifies Sanctions Against Russia
- Commerce Imposes Additional Export Restrictions in Response to Russia’s Brutal War on Ukraine
- Statement by Ambassador Katherine Tai on the Imposition of Higher Tariffs on Additional Imports from Russia
Export and Import Controls
The United States has imposed stringent export controls on Russia and on Belarus, which has helped enable Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
We continue to restrict Russian imports and exports, adding to and further tightening steps taken after Russia’s occupation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas in 2014. Measures taken as a result of Putin’s recent actions include these:
- MAY 9, 2022
Raimondo Announces Temporary Suspension of 232 Tariffs on Ukraine Steel
- April 21, 2022
A Proclamation on the Declaration of National Emergency and Invocation of Emergency Authority Relating to the Regulation of the Anchorage and Movement of Russian-Affiliated Vessels to United States Ports
- April 9, 2022
Commerce Department Expands Restrictions on Exports to Russia and Belarus in Response to Ongoing Aggression in Ukraine
- April 7, 2022
BIS Takes Enforcement Actions Against Three Russian Airlines Operating Aircraft in Violation of U.S. Export Controls
- April 1, 2022
Commerce Adds 120 Entities in Russia and Belarus to the Entity List, Further Limiting the Russian and Belarusian Militaries’ Access to Items That Support Aggression Against Ukraine
In order to promote accountability for human rights abuses and violations by the Russian Federation and the Lukashenka regime in Belarus, the United States has imposed a series of sanctions and visa restrictions. These actions target Russian and Belarusian officials, Russia’s proxy “authorities” in the parts of Ukraine it controls, and private individuals involved in human rights abuses, corruption and repression related to Putin’s premeditated and unjustified war against Ukraine and its people.
- August 2, 2022
Imposing Additional Costs on Russia for its Continued War Against Ukraine
- June 28, 2022
Targeting Russia’s War Machine, Sanctions Evaders, Military Units Credibly Implicated in Human Rights Abuses, and Russian Federation Officials Involved in Suppression of Dissent
Private Sector Actions
As President Biden said earlier this week, the United States welcomes the decisions of companies to exit Russia because they want no part of Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine. An unofficial list names hundreds of U.S. companies that will stop doing business in Russia.