U.S., EU Sanction Russia Over Navalny Poisoning
The United States and the European Union have imposed new sanctions on senior Russian officials over the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, officials announced Tuesday.
President Joe Biden’s first Russia sanctions since taking office in January are coordinated with EU actions against four top Russian justice and law enforcement officials. A senior U.S. official said its intelligence community is publicly assessing “with high confidence” that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers poisoned Navalny using the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok.
Officials said that the United States would impose sanctions on “seven senior members of the Russian government” with the details expected to be released later Tuesday.
They also said that the United States would restrict exports to Russia as it vowed that Biden would take a harder line than his predecessor Donald Trump, who voiced admiration for Putin.
“We’re sending a clear signal to Russia that there are clear consequences to the use of chemical weapons,” another official said.
The EU’s sanctions announced Tuesday come in response to Navalny’s detention and repressions against pro-Navalny protesters. They target National Guard director Viktor Zolotov, Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin, Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov and federal prisons administrator Alexander Kalashnikov.
The EU had initially responded to the Navalny poisoning in October with sanctions on six Russian officials and a state research institute. European scientists and the global chemical weapons watchdog determined that Navalny was poisoned with a new variant of Novichok when he fell ill in August 2020.
UN human rights experts on Monday said they hold the Kremlin responsible for Navalny’s poisoning. The Kremlin has denied involvement and cast doubt on whether Navalny was poisoned at all.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Moscow will “invariably” respond to U.S. sanctions, while the Kremlin said the new sanctions would not achieve their aims and worsen already strained ties.
(c) The Moscow Times