U.S. authorizes wind-down of activities with sanctioned GAZ Group

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) — The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday issued two general licenses for Russia’s GAZ Group, allowing the wind-down of certain transactions involving the U.S.-sanctioned van maker as Washington prepares to end the authorizations over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The licenses, which come as previous ones for the van maker were set to expire this week, authorize the wind down of transactions with GAZ Group and the wind-down of certain transactions necessary to divest or transfer debt, equity, or other holdings in GAZ Group through May 24.

Previous licenses were not limited to wind-down activities.

The Treasury in January shortened the usual extension of two general licenses for the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer as the United States sought to deter Russia from invading Ukraine.

Previously extended for a year at a time, the licenses were extended for only 90 days in January.

A U.S.Treasury spokesperson said the department in January noted the future of the general licenses would depend on Russia’s behavior.

«Given Russia´s war against Ukraine, we will not extend the GAZ-related GLs (general licenses),» the spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.

The two-month-old war has killed or injured thousands, reduced towns and cities to rubble and forced over 5 million people to flee abroad as the biggest attack on a European state since 1945 drags on.

Moscow says it launched a «special military operation» on Feb.24 because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia, and to protect Russian-speaking people there. Kyiv and its allies say they are pretexts for an invasion.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Chris Gallagher and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Lisa Shumaker)

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