Ratcheting up tensions with Moscow, on Tuesday, the Biden administration announced sanctions on senior Russian officials and Russian entities over the jailing and alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. The US coordinated the move with the EU, which also imposed sanctions against Russia on Tuesday.
The US measures targeted seven senior Russian government officials. The Biden administration also sanctioned 14 Russian entities that the US claims are involved with Russia’s alleged chemical weapons program and its development of weapons of mass destruction.
The EU sanctioned four senior Russian officials in its new measures. The EU had already sanctioned six Russians and a state research center over Navalny’s jailing.
For their part, the Russians have denied any role in Navalny’s poisoning and said they have not seen evidence to prove the accusation. Ahead of the announcement of the sanctions, Moscow warned the US that it would respond to any penalties against Russian officials.
“We will respond without fail. Reciprocity, which is one of the rules of diplomacy, has not been annulled,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “We have repeatedly said what we think of illegitimate unilateral sanctions the American colleagues as well as the European Union that follows the US lead tend to resort to for practically no reason.”
Biden administration officials had been warning for weeks that they would take action against Russia over Navalny. While President Biden quickly reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to renew New START, the vital nuclear arms treaty, the new administration has maintained an incredibly hostile stance towards Moscow.