U.S., E.U. Impose Sanctions on Russia Over Poisoning of Navalny

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny attends a hearing to consider an appeal against an earlier court decision to change his suspended sentence to a real prison term, in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

The U.S. and the European Union announced coordinated sanctions on Russia Tuesday for the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his arrest and detention that followed.

Senior U.S. administration officials told reporters during a briefing call ahead of the public release of the measures that the U.S. is adopting the new sanctions, export restrictions and visa restrictions on Russia following an intelligence community assessment on the poisoning of Navalny that determined with “high confidence” that officers with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) used a nerve agent to poison him.

The U.S. is sanctioning seven senior members of the Russian government, including FSB director Aleksandr Bortnikov, as well as 14 entities that are involved in the chemical and biological industrial base in Russia, officials said.

The sanctions were the first to target Moscow since Joe Biden became president and opened a comprehensive review of U.S.-Russia policy, including the Kremlin’s actions against Navalny, interference into the U.S. election, the Solar Winds hack and reported bounties offered to Taliban-linked groups to target U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The officials said these actions in response to the Navalny poisoning are the beginning of the administration’s actions against Russia as President Biden’s review of specific actions by Moscow continues. The U.S. response to those other three issues are coming “sooner rather than later,” one senior administration official said.

“Today is the first such response, and there will be more to come,” the official said.

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SOURCE: NBC News, by Abigail Williams, Dan De Luce, Carol E. Lee and Andrea Mitchell

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