The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and entities over Russia’s attempt to kill opposition figure Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent, senior Biden administration officials said.
The officials, speaking to reporters on a conference call, said the moves were being taken in coordination with the European Union. They reiterated President Joe Biden‘s call for Russia to release Navalny from prison.
The sanctions were a response to what the officials said was a Russian attempt to assassinate Navalny last year, an accusation Russia denies. Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, had not levied punishment on Russia over the Navalny attack.
Biden has taken a tougher approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin than Trump.
“The United States is neither seeking to reset our relations with Russia, nor are we seeking to escalate,” one official said.
“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,” the official said.
EU SANCTIONS 4 RUSSIAN OFFICIALS OVER NAVALNY CASE
The European Union has imposed sanctions on four Russian officials over the sentencing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
The bloc on Tuesday decided to freeze the European assets and ban the entry of Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov, head of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov, chairman of Russian investigation committee Alexander Bastrykin, and chief of the federal prison service Alexander Kalashnikov.
The four people are “responsible for serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as widespread and systematic repression of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and freedom of opinion and expression in Russia,” the press statement of the top EU diplomats explained.
This is the first time that the bloc used its Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.
The scheme, adopted in 2020, enables the EU to target individuals, entities, and other bodies responsible for serious human rights violations.
A Moscow court ruled on Saturday to uphold the decision of Navalny, sentencing him to two years and eight months in prison for violating parole.