The Biden administration has decided roughly one month after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to prison by Moscow to impose sanctions on the Russia government.
Senior administration officials announced Tuesday sanctions on seven "senior" Russian officials and that a government research institute and 13 businesses will be subject to U.S. export restrictions.
In August 2020, Navalny became sick on a flight in Siberia and was airlifted to Germany, where doctors concluded he was poisoned with Novichok, the military-grade nerve agent, according to ABC News.
The Kremlin has denied any role. But a senior Biden administration official said Tuesday the U.S. intelligence community "assesses with high confidence” that officers of Russia's Federal Security Service, FSB, used Novichok to poison Navalny.
Navalny was detained by Russian officials since Jan. 18 – about 24 hours after returning to the country after the poisoning and two days before President Biden officially took office.
He was found guilty Feb. 8 in a trial for violating a suspended prison sentence and was ordered to prison for over two years.
Amid criticism that the administration did not go far enough, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the sanctions a "hostile anti-Russian attack ... devoid of logic and meaning" and again cast doubt on Navalny's poisoning, ABC also reports.
The U.S. sanctions are in unison with those from the European Union. The bloc of 27 member countries announced Tuesday penalties on four Russian officials in connection with Navalny's imprisonment.