On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced sanctions against Russia as a reaction to the alleged poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
According to Politico, “The U.S. intelligence community has concluded with high confidence that Navalny was poisoned last year with a banned nerve agent called Novichok by the Russian security services, the administration revealed on Tuesday.”
Navalny remained in Germany as he recovered from the poisoning, but was then arrested when he went back to Russia.
Navalny’s original sentence was issued on February 2, as reported by The Daily Wire:
A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to prison for more than 2 1/2 years on charges that he violated the terms of his probation — while he was in a coma from nerve-agent poisoning he says was perpetrated by the Russian Security Service.
Navalny, 44, was detained two weeks ago after he returned to Moscow from Berlin. In court, a judge ruled Navalny violated his term of five years of probation, ordered a former 3.5-year suspended sentence to be replaced with a prison term, then took off 11 months Navalny already spent under house arrest.
A Russian court recently rejected an appeal by Navalny, clearing the way for the opposition leader to potentially be moved to Russia’s penal colony system.
Politico reported, “The new penalties were imposed by the Treasury, State and Commerce departments, and included sanctions on seven senior members of the Russian government, an expansion of sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, new export restrictions on items that could be used for biological agent and chemical production, and visa restrictions, the officials said.”
A senior administration official reportedly said in a press call on Tuesday, “From his first phone call with President Putin, President Biden has been clear that the United States will respond to a number of destabilizing Russian actions.” The official added that the administration had asked for “new or declassified intelligence community assessments in four such areas, and plan to respond to each of them in the coming weeks. Today is the first such response, and there will be more to come.”
The use of sanctions is being done in conjunction with the efforts of the European Union, which also plans to take further action against Russia due to Navalny’s jailing.
As reported by Politico, “The EU reached a preliminary agreement last week to sanction four Russian government officials, but Tuesday’s rollout and coordination with the U.S. was ‘a demonstration of transatlantic unity,’ one of the officials said.”
Officials also reportedly confirmed that the Biden administration will enforce more punishments on Russia as a reaction to the Russian cyber hack on multiple United States government agencies in 2020. The additional measures will be announced soon. People familiar with the matter also said that the administration is planning to take action in response to reports that Russia put bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
NBC News reported that “the U.S. is sanctioning seven senior members of the Russian government as well as 14 entities that are involved in the chemical and biological industrial base in Russia, officials said.”
The officials did not share the names of those who are being sanctioned but said some of them have been sanctioned in the past by the E.U. and also have been spoken of by Navalny’s advocates.