2. Export controls

Italy accuses Russia of hacking it’s Foreign Ministry

On 10 February 2017, Italy accused Russia of hacking it’s foreign ministry in 2016. According to published reports, the hacking lasted for months before it was detected. The accusation has been flatly rejected by Russia. The accusation is now being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Rome.

U.S. decides to give Sudan some sanctions relief

On 17 January 2017, President Obama controversially authorized the easing of sanctions against Sudan (falling under SSR and E.O.’s 13067 and 13412). The decision was made in a step towards normalizing bi-lateral relations with Sudan. U.S. officials defend the change in policy towards Khartoum as a response to the latter’s steps towards improving humanitarian access, lowering violence internally, as well as “cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism and addressing regional conflicts.”

U.S. President Obama orders Cyber-realted Sanctions on Russia following Hacking during Presidential Elections

On 29 December 2016, President Obama issued a new set of sanctions against Russia. These are cyber-related sanctions as a result of U.S. determination that Russia was involved in the hacking of the most recent U.S. Presidential elections. Designations include 9 entities and individuals including the GRU and the FSB (Russian intelligence services). Other measures cover the shutting down of 2 Russian compounds in the U.S., and the expulsion of of 35 Russian diplomats – claimed by the U.S. to be intelligence operatives.

EU Extends Russia Sector Sanctions for ongoing crisis in Crimea & Sevastopol until mid 2017

On 15 December 2016, as predicted, EU leaders agreed to extend their sector sanctions against Russia until mid-2017. The target of EU sanctions will focus on the Russian defense, energy, and financial sectors. Its expected that the restrictive measures will be formalized this coming week. The extension of sanctions, which was agreed with the U.S., are a result of the ongoing crisis in the Crimea and Sevastopol.

U.S. Republican Senators Split with President-Elect Trump: investigation demanded into U.S. Election Cyber Attacks

President Obama orders a review of malicious cyber activities timed during U.S. elections. Highly sensitive is the alleged role of Russia, which the Russian Government denies and President-Elect Trump does not believe, in the hacking of 2016 elections campaigns. In this context, Republican senators have split with their president-elect and demanded their own investigations into the hacking activities of foreign elements.