By ERIC TUCKER – Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration on Thursday decided to choke off U.S. exports to three Russian airlines in what officials called an unprecedented enforcement action.
The Commerce Ministry said the move would block airlines – Russia’s national carrier Aeroflot, Utair and Azur Air – from receiving items from the US, including parts for servicing their planes.
“These restrictions are significant because it’s obviously difficult to keep flying if you can’t service your planes,” Matthew Axelrod, deputy trade secretary for export enforcement, told reporters.
The implication, he said, is that, over time, the sanctioned airlines “and their aircraft fleets will largely be unable to continue flying, either internationally or domestically, now that they are reliant on international support and U.S. Parts and related parts cut off are services they need to maintain and support their fleets.”
The measures, known as temporary denial orders, allow the Commerce Department to grant exceptions when a flight’s safety would be compromised. The orders are valid for 180 days, but can be extended.
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The three airlines selected had already violated the U.S. government’s restrictions, and the measures were taken to prevent expected violations in the future, officials said.
The private sector has also taken action of its own against Russian airlines in response to the war in Ukraine, with Delta Air Lines suspending its codesharing partnership with Russian national carrier Aeroflot in February.
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