The U.S. Department of Treasury has exempted telecommunications services from the sanctions placed on Russia for Invading Ukraine.
Business transactions involving “services, software, hardware, or technology incident to the exchange of communications over the internet” are now authorized to take place. The transactions include messaging, domain registration, email, and file sharing (photos and videos).
Access Now, activists, and other nonprofits have urged the U.S. government not to disrupt the internet in Russia. For activists, disrupting the internet could cut their only access to the outside world.
Access Now tech legal counsel Natalia Krapiva commended the action from the United States.
“US internet communication technologies are key for human rights defenders and independent media to report on and fight Russian and Belarusian governments’ aggression in Ukraine,” said Krapiva.
Several telecommunications companies have suspended operations in Russia following Ukraine’s invasion.
Sanctions are however still in place for Russian financial institutions or state-controlled entities like the Russian Ministry of Finance.
The sources for this piece include an article in The Verge.