US government halts Microsoft sales to Russia

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US sanctions towards Russia have resulted in the sales of Microsoft's software to Russian firms being restricted. 

According to Reuters, the ruling directly affects 200 Russian companies, and may be a further sign of rising tensions between the two countries. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has seen its actions in the US majorly affected by government restrictions in recent months following allegations of covert surveillance.

Two of nine Russian distributors for Microsoft, Merlion and RRC, have notified its clients. Merlion said all sanctioned Microsoft buyers need to pay for licenses within tight deadlines, while RRC said “serious restrictions are being introduced” on Microsoft.

In a statement to Reuters, Microsoft said that it, “has a strong commitment to complying with legal requirements and has robust processes around the world to help ensure that our partners are in compliance as well.”

The US Treasury Department simply referred to its published guidance:

“In the event that a U.S. person believes that it may not receive payment in full by the end of the relevant payment period, the U.S. person should contact OFAC to determine whether a license or other authorization is required,” it said.

Microsoft did not respond to the question if it initiated the restrictions or not.

The US sanctions came into force on November 28, 2017. Under the sanctions, the duration of loans offered to Russian financial firms was cut from 30 to 14 days, and from 90 to 60 days, respectively.

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