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Biden Administration Sanctions Russian Officials over Navalny Poisoning, Imprisonment

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a hearing in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2021. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

The Biden administration announced sanctions on senior Russian officials in response to the poisoning and recent imprisonment of dissident Alexei Navalny.

Administration officials told reporters on Tuesday that the Treasury Department would sanction seven members of the Russian government, declining to specify their names. Additionally, the Commerce Department will add 14 Russian businesses and enterprises to its entities list for “activities that are contrary to US national security and foreign policy interests,” an official said in comments reported by CNN.

“These parties are all involved in various aspects of biological agents production and chemical production,” officials added.

The Biden administration coordinated its sanctions with the European Union, which unveiled its own sanctions against four senior Russian officials on Tuesday.

Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and staunch critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was poisoned in August with a nerve agent similar to the Soviet-era Novichok. Navalny reportedly duped an FSB agent into confessing that he planted the poison in Navalny’s underpants.

After recovering in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia, where he was arrested and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

“This is his only method—to kill people. No matter how much he pretends to be a great geopolitician, he’ll go into history as a poisoner,” Navalny said of Putin during the sentencing. “There was Aleksander the Liberator, Yaroslav the Wise, and Vladimir the Poisoner of Underpants.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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