The US Department of the Treasury is exempting telecommunications services from ongoing sanctions against Russia. The move, confirmed late last week in an order, follows requests from advocacy groups who feared a disruption would cut off Russian activists’ access to the outside world. It may not, however, cause companies that voluntarily cut off access to restore it.
The new order authorizes business transactions involving “services, software, hardware, or technology incident to the exchange of communications over the internet,” including messaging, domain registration, email, and sharing photos or videos. It does not authorize transactions involving Russian financial institutions or state-controlled entities like the Russian Ministry of Finance.