According to a report from Politico, the Biden administration is preparing to hit Russia with major penalties over the jailing and alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
Sources told Politico that the US is planning to coordinate a sanctions roll-out with its European allies. Details of what sanctions President Biden is planning are not clear. The report said the Trump administration left behind a sanctions package that laid out options for possible punishments for Russia, which the new administration is reviewing.
The options include Magnitsky Act sanctions on individuals who detained Navalny, sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, and sanctions under Executive Order 13382, which freezes the assets of alleged proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.
On Monday, the EU said it agreed to sanction four Russians close to President Vladimir Putin for the jailing of Navalny. The EU is expected to formally approve the sanctions in March.
Biden administration officials have been threatening to take action against Russia over a slew of allegations. Many of the allegations, like the claim Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, are entirely unfounded.
While President Biden quickly reached an agreement with Putin to extend New START, the vital nuclear arms treaty, he has maintained a hostile stance towards Moscow. Besides the rhetoric and threats of sanctions, the US is also stepping up military activity on multiple fronts to confront Russia.
The US and NATO are both expected to increase their presence in the Black Sea. The Biden administration sent two guided-missile destroyers into the Black Sea for 17 days, one of the longest US deployments in the region in recent years.
The Arctic is another region where the US is looking to escalate tensions with Moscow. As part of this effort, Washington has deployed B-1 bombers to Norway, marking the first time the Scandinavian country is hosting US bombers.