Biden sanctions Russia over 2020 assassination attempt of Putin critic Alexei Navalny

by Joel Abbott · Mar 2nd, 2021 4:12 pm

Last Updated Mar 7th, 2021 at 4:21 pm

The White House announced sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for the nerve agent poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in August 2020.

"The Kremlin's use of chemical weapons to silence a political opponent and intimidate others demonstrates its flagrant disregard for international norms," said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. "We join the EU in condemning Alexei Navalny's poisoning as well as his arrest and imprisonment by the Russian government."

Navalny became violently ill last summer after Kremlin agents allegedly broke into his hotel room and laced his underwear with the nerve agent Novichok. Traces of the nerve agent were found in his hotel room. The German medical team that treated him also found the lethal chemical weapon – which is illegal under international treaty – in his bloodstream.

Navalny was recently arrested upon his return to Russia.

The Biden administration did not identify which Russian officials would be named under the sanctions. An administration official said the U.S. is not seeking to "rest" or "escalate" relations with Russian, but said it would "impose costs" due to the Kremlin crossing "boundaries."

"We believe that the United States and our partners must be clear and impose costs when Russia's behavior crosses boundaries that are respected by responsible nations, and we believe there should be guard rails on how these adversarial aspects of our relationship play out," said the official.

The White House is expected to impose several further sanctions in the coming days, including the SolarWinds attack earlier this year where Russian-backed hackers gained access to the systems of multiple federal agencies and private businesses.


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