Despite the recent summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US still seems determined to escalate tensions with Moscow. On Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US is preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia.
The new sanctions would be over the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, something Moscow denies responsibility for. “We are preparing another package of sanctions to apply in this case,” Sullivan told CNN.
“It will come as soon as we have developed the packages to ensure that we are getting the right targets. And when we do that, we will impose further sanctions with respect to chemical weapons,” he said.
The Biden administration has already imposed sanctions on Russian officials over Navalny and for other reasons. In March, the US, UK, and the EU all hit Russia with Navalny-related sanctions. In April, the US hit Russia with even more sanctions and expelled Russian diplomats over unsubstantiated claims, like the idea Russia was behind the SolarWinds hack.
The Russian ambassador to the US responded to Sullivan’s comments and said more sanctions from the US is not what Moscow expected after the Biden-Putin summit, which appeared to go relatively well.
“This is not a signal we all expected after the summit,” Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Sunday. “I don’t think it is possible to stabilize and normalize relations between countries by means of sanctions. The current task is to normalize dialogue. First of all, we need to restore wrecked dialogue mechanisms.”
Biden and Putin agreed at the summit to return ambassadors to each other’s capital and to hold talks in the future on arms control and cyberattacks. More sanctions from the US would certainly be a bad signal to Moscow and could hinder potential arms control talks or other negotiations that need to be started in good faith.