Sep 16, 2022 - World

U.S. limits export of fentanyl to Russia and Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 13. Photo: Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. this week restricted the export of fentanyl and related chemicals to Russia and Belarus over concerns that the substances could be "potentially useful for ... chemical and biological weapons production."

Driving the news: The Department of Commerce introduced the regulations to curb "production and development capabilities" that "may be used in support of [Russia's] military aggression."

  • The exportation of the substances are "prohibited or require a license from another U.S. government agency," the Department of Commerce wrote.
  • "The Department of Commerce is taking these actions to clarify and enhance the effectiveness of U.S. controls and to better align its controls on both Russia and Belarus with those implemented by U.S. allies," the department said.
  • The sanctions also regulate the export of other chemicals needed to make fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has caused thousands of overdose deaths in recent years, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The move comes after the European Union limited fentanyl and related drug exports to Russia in June to prevent the export of "specific equipment that might be useful for the production of toxic chemicals."

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