United States: Digging Into DASKA: Key Takeaways From The Latest Russia Sanctions Bill

Last Wednesday, February 13, a bipartisan group of senators sent Presidents Trump and Putin a Valentine's Eve present by reintroducing a revised Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, or "DASKA" – a tough economic sanctions bill that had policymakers in capitals across the world scrambling when it was first unveiled last year. The bill demonstrates that the new Congress continues to prioritize responding forcefully to the Russian threat. Many remember all too well being surprised by the severity of the Countering America's Adversaries Act (CAATSA) of 2017 – and how quickly it passed both houses of Congress.

Like CAATSA, this latest iteration of DASKA is intended to push the Trump Administration to confront the Kremlin on a range of issues, including Russia's continued interference in democratic processes in the United States and abroad, malign influence in Syria, continued aggression toward Ukraine, and support of criminal organizations and other malicious actors in cyberspace. The bill contains a grab bag of measures to match its broad focus, including requiring two-thirds of the Senate to approve any decision by President Trump to leave NATO; a variety of initiatives to combat cyber and disinformation threats; and a long-debated provision to require the collection of beneficial ownership information.

While DASKA is one of a handful of competing legislative proposals expected to be introduced this year, it will likely set the tone for things to come. With that in mind, here are some key takeaways:

  1. Bipartisanship. Sanctions against Russia are perhaps the only topic these days on which Democrats and Republicans in Congress stand unequivocally united. CAATSA passed 419 to 3 in the House. It passed 98 to 2 in the Senate. Whether DASKA in its current form or something else, expect new Russia sanctions legislation to pass before the year is out, if not significantly sooner.
  2. Sovereign debt. CAATSA required the Treasury Department to draft a report on the potential consequences of imposing sanctions on new issuances of Russian sovereign debt. Apparently the Senators behind DASKA read that report and liked what they saw, or at least they were not scared off by it. The new bill would prohibit U.S. persons from dealing in new Russian sovereign debt -- including bonds issued by, and foreign exchange swap agreements with, the Russian Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, or Federal Treasury – exceeding 14 days' maturity.
  3. Energy. DASKA includes several provisions ostensibly promoting continued transatlantic unity, but it is the bill's energy provisions that international partners and allies are likely to pay most attention to. Among them are mandates that the Trump Administration sanction any person that knowingly makes a new large investment in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility outside Russia or any energy project outside Russia "supported by" a Russian parastatal entity or an entity owned or controlled by the Russian Government. DASKA would also target for sanctions the sale, lease, or provision of high-value goods, services, technology, financing, or other support, including infrastructure repair or modernization, that significantly contributes to the Russian Government's development and production of crude oil resources in Russia. This measure would not apply to efforts to maintain projects already ongoing on the date of DASKA's enactment.
  4. Oligarchs. Still nursing hard feelings over the Treasury Departicment's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently lifting sanctions on entities linked to a Russian oligarch, under DASKA, Congress would force the Administration to sanction billionaires (and others) linked to President Putin who facilitate bad acts on his behalf. The bill also mandates that the Administration update the CAATSA-required report on Russian oligarchs that preceded OFAC sanctioning several of them last April, as well as provide a separate report on President Putin's finances and a listing of Russia's most significant oligarchs and officials, as judged by their proximity to Putin. The bottom line here is that Congress continues to view Russian oligarchs as extensions of the Kremlin, and it is designing sanctions accordingly.
  5. Russian financial institutions. Congress is still exercised about the Kremlin interfering in U.S. elections. Consequently, DASKA would force the Administration to sanction Russian financial institutions that provide financial or other support for Russian government interference in democratic processes outside Russia. This is a significantly tamer alternative to prior proposals that would have required the President to engage in a scorched-earth sanctions campaign against Russian banks and other institutions if evidence showed continued interference in U.S. elections. Again, though, DASKA is only a draft bill, so stronger measures might still make their way into whatever Congress ultimately ends up passing. Notably, the provision is not limited to democratic processes in the United States, so it could be used to respond to Russian meddling in several upcoming foreign elections (in India, Eastern Europe, and Africa, among others) ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
  6. Shipbuilding sector. The draft legislation would require the Secretary of State to make a quarterly determination about whether the Russian Government was interfering with freedom of navigation anywhere in the world. If the Secretary were to determine that Russia was indeed playing pirate, then the Trump Administration would be required to sanction all entities operating in the Russian shipbuilding sector. This is a nod to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) seizing three Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait last November and detaining their crewmembers. A separate DASKA provision offers a more direct response to the incident, requiring the President to sanction not less than 24 senior FSB officers and maintain the sanctions until Russia releases the detained naval personnel.
  7. State sponsor of terrorism. The bill would require the Secretary of State to determine, within three months, whether Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism, which – in the event of an affirmative determination – would result in additional sanctions and export restrictions.
  8. Global impact. Much of the anxiety around CAATSA stems from its so-called secondary, or "extraterritorial," sanctions, whereby the Administration must impose sanctions on parties who engage in specified dealings with sanctioned Russian individuals and entities even if such dealings have no U.S. nexus. For European and Asian companies with deep, longstanding ties to Russia, DASKA only exacerbates those concerns by adding a swath of new activity for which Russian persons could find themselves sanctioned.
  9. Cyber. DASKA also incorporates the International Cybercrime Prevention Act (ICPA), which has been introduced in Congress in various forms since 2015 and seeks to raise the costs on malicious cyber activity. The bill would create additional authorities to seize botnets and prohibit cyber criminals from selling access to botnets to carry out cyber attacks—seeking to build on the U.S. government's successful disruption of the Coreflood botnet in 2011 and the Gameover Zeus botnet in 2014, both of which emanated from Russia. The bill would impose enhanced penalties on persons who hack into critical infrastructure, such as the country's energy grid or financial system. Lastly, it would make certain cybercrimes subject to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and its associated heavy penalties – a nod to the growing link between the Russian government and criminal hacking syndicates and the degree to which computer technology has become a key tool of organized crime. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Justice broadly supports ICPA's enactment.
  10. Disinformation and Election Interference. The legislative proposal would give prosecutors additional authorities to pursue federal charges for the hacking of voting systems and create a National Fusion Center to respond to hybrid threats of disinformation and other emerging threats from Russia and an Office of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy within the State Department.
  11. Beneficial ownership. The bill would require domestic title insurance companies to obtain, maintain, and report information on beneficial owners of entities that purchase high-value residential real estate in the United States. This requirement is similar to FinCEN's temporary geographic targeting orders that require companies to collect and report beneficial ownership and other ownership information for all cash transactions exceeding $300,000 by legal entities for real estate located in specific metropolitan areas in Texas, Florida, New York, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

As noted above, DASKA is likely only the latest word in the ongoing conversation in Congress about how to deal with Russia and an Administration oft-criticized for not taking a harder line against the Kremlin. We in MoFo's National Security Practice Group will continue to keep you informed as the dialogue progresses.

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Morrison & Foerster LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions