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MOSCOW, RUSSIA – 09/16/2021: Aeroflot Russian Airlines Airbus A320 civil jet aircraft at Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, Russia on September 19, 2021. (Leonid Faerberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Pictures)

The U.S. Department of Commerce on Thursday decided to block three Russian airlines from receiving parts exported from the United States in the department’s first action to punish alleged violations of export controls since the invasion of the United States. Ukraine by Russia.

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

This follows US sanctions announced on Wednesday against two of Russia’s biggest banks and the adult children of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as US 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 prohibit the use of US parts to service aircraft, as well as maintenance contracts for aircraft subject to US regulations on export.

As a result of these orders, Russian airlines would over time be “largely unable to continue flying, either internationally or domestically,” said Matthew Axelrod, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the enforcement of export regulations.

“[I]It’s obviously hard to keep flying if you can’t maintain your planes,” Axelrod said at a press briefing on Thursday, adding that the three Russian airlines are allegedly committing “imminent” export control violations in flying “American-made aircraft” in Russia without permission for continuing to fly such aircraft in Russia without permission.

CNN has asked the three Russian airlines for comment.


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