US concludes Russia poisoned Navalny, imposes sanctions

The United States imposes sanctions on seven senior Russian officials as it said its intelligence concluded that Moscow orchestrated the near-fatal poisoning of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

In action coordinated with the European Union, US President Joe Biden’s administration renews demands that Russia free Navalny, who has been sent to a notorious penal colony after spurring massive rallies through his allegations of corruption by President Vladimir Putin.

“The intelligence community assesses with high confidence that officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB used a nerve agent known as Novichok to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on August 20, 2020,” a senior US official tells reporters.

Officials say that the United States would impose sanctions on “seven senior members of the Russian government” with the details expected to be released later Tuesday.

The announcement comes one day after EU member states approved sanctions on a partly overlapping list of four senior Russian justice and law enforcement officials involved in his detention.

The targeted Russians will be restricted from traveling either to the European Union or the United States, with any assets in the Western nations frozen.

The Biden administration said it will also restrict certain exports to Russia as it vowed a harder line than defeated president Donald Trump, who voiced admiration for Putin.

“We will take the appropriate actions as we see fit to make very clear that this kind of conduct is unacceptable for us, and we’ll do it with our allies and partners,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.

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