U.S. considering controlling exports to Russia if there is an invasion of Ukraine

The Biden administration is considering controlling exports related to semiconductors to harm Russian industries, should Russia invade Ukraine, a senior administration official confirmed to CBS News. The move could be done in a way to keep new smartphones and other technology from Russian citizens. 

Specifically, the administration is threatening to use the foreign direct product rule to deprive Russia of semiconductor technology, the official confirmed, since virtually all semiconductors are designed with U.S. software and parts. The U.S. is working with European and Asian allies to make a rule that would keep essential components from industries Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to grow the Russian economy, like artificial intelligence and aerospace. 

The Washington Post first reported the U.S. is threatening to use such export control. The foreign direct product rule was deployed on Chinese company Huawei last year, and their annual revenue dropped sharply. 

The consideration of expert control comes as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed more U.S. military personnel on “heightened preparedness” to deploy to the region if necessary, bringing the number of U.S. forces on heightened alert to 8,500, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.

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President Biden speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin Adam Schultz / AP

The export control measure would go beyond the severe sanctions package the U.S. has prepared to be enacted should Russia further invade Ukraine. 

Mr. Biden met virtually Monday afternoon with European leaders to address Russia’s military building up on Ukraine’s borders, a meeting that the White House added to his public schedule Monday morning. The meeting lasted for 20 minutes. 

Mr. Biden told reporter they had a “very, very good meeting,” and there is “total unanimity with all the European leaders.” 

White House chief of staff Ron Klain told CBS News last week that “nothing on the economic side is off the table” when it comes to sanctions against Russia. 

The president told reporters last week it’s his “guess” Putin will “move in” to Ukraine.