In August last year, 44-year-old Navalny fell ill on a flight in Siberia and was airlifted to Germany. German doctors concluded that the Russian opposition leader had been poisoned.
In President Joe Biden’s most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the US on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow’s attempt to poison Opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
Marking a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump’s reluctance to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin, an announcement of action against seven Russian officials and 14 entities was made by senior Biden administration officials. In August last year, 44-year-old Navalny fell ill on a flight in Siberia and was airlifted to Germany. German doctors concluded that the Russian opposition leader had been poisoned with a nerve agent. The Kremlin has so far denied any role in his illness and said it had seen no proof that he was poisoned.
In January, Navalny returned from Germany following treatment for poisoning with what many western countries say was a military-grade nerve agent, and was immediately arrested by Russian authorities from the airport. He was jailed on February 2 for parole violations on what he says were politically motivated charges and sent to a penal colony on Monday.
The people or entities targeted were not immediately named by the US officials and it was not clear if the sanctions would have more than a symbolic impact.
The US officials said that Navalny was targeted for raising questions about Russian corruption and was the latest example of Russian efforts to silence dissent.
Referring to the March 2018 poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, a senior US official told reporters on a call: “Russia’s attempt to kill Navalny follows an alarming pattern of chemical weapons use by Russia.”