Sanctions Related to Ukraine Conflict Hit Firearms Manufacturer Molot and Their VEPR

vpo-205-00The US Treasury Department today released the latest round of sanctions going into effect surrounding the conflict in Ukraine.  These sanctions, which the department says underscore the U.S. commitment to a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine, are hitting close to home for fans of certain imported firearms.

The Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reinforced existing sanctions on Russia by designating a range of individuals and entities involved in the ongoing conflict under four Executive orders (E.O.s) related to Russia and Ukraine.  The sanctions, according to the release, will remain in effect “until Russia fully honors its obligations under the Minsk Agreements.

Along with 37 other entities, the list names Molot-Oruzhie, manufacturer of the popular VEPR series of firearms, including the AK-47-style VEPR-12 semi-auto shotgun, similar in appearance and function to the Kalashnikov Concern’s Saiga.

Molot Oruzhie, OOO is designated by the Treasury Department’s sanction list under the section of Designations Related to Officials of the Russian Government and Sanctions Evasion, which also targets five other entities pursuant to the previous White House’s 2014 Executive Order 13661, which authorizes sanctions on any individual or entity that has provided material or other support to persons operating in the arms or related materiel sector in the Russian Federation.

Specifically, the release reads:   

Molot-Oruzhie, OOO manufactures ordnance and accessories and is located in the Russian Federation. In 2016, previously-designated Kalashnikov Concern advised a foreign company to use Molot-Oruzhie, OOO to falsify invoices in order to circumvent U.S. and EU sanctions. Molot-Oruzhie is being designated for operating in the arms or related material sector of the Russian Federation and for acting or purporting to act for on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kalashnikov Concern.

As a result of today’s action, any property or interest in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked. Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving these persons are generally prohibited.

FIMEgroupThis is the part that effects US gun owners who may have intended to buy any of Molot’s firearms, which are imported solely by Las Vegas-based FIME Group following a late 2015, long-term exclusivity agreement between the two companies to cover the entire North American market.

Earlier today, GunLink reached out to FIME Group to ask about the available existing stock of Molot firearms already available inside the United States and what the outlook might be for the future availability of such firearms and what the ban might do to prices.  The company’s Factory Rep responded to that they are currently in the process of researching all possible avenues before releasing an official statement, but that we would be among the first to know once they figure it out.

According to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, “these designations will maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution,” and that “there should be no sanctions relief until Russia meets its obligations under the Minsk agreements.

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