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U.S. slaps sanctions on 7 Russians for poisoning of Alexey Navalny

Biden sanctions Russia over Navalny poisoning
Biden sanctions Russian officials over Putin critic's poisoning 00:17

Washington — The Biden administration announced Tuesday it is imposing sanctions on seven senior Russian government officials in response to the poisoning and detention of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Senior administration officials told reporters the U.S. is "sending a clear signal to Russia" with the sanctions on the Russian officials, who were not identified. The sanctions are the first targeting Russia from the Biden administration, which has in recent weeks indicated there would be sweeping punishments imposed on Moscow for a range of activity. 

President Biden pledged days after taking office "that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions — interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens — are over."

The penalties from the U.S. were imposed in coordination with the European Union, which announced it is sanctioning four Russians "for serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as widespread and systematic repression of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and freedom of opinion and expression in Russia."

Senior administration officials told reporters there will be "upcoming" actions in other areas, including in response to the massive Solar Winds cyber beach, which impacted roughly 100 private-sector companies and nine federal agencies. 

National security advisor Jake Sullivan told "Face the Nation" last month the the administration would respond to the Solar Winds hack with "a mix of tools seen and unseen, and it will not simply be sanctions."

Navalny, 44, spent five months recovering in Germany after he was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. He was arrested January 17 after returning to Moscow from Germany, after which tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Russia to demand his release.

Navalny was sentenced by a Moscow court to three and a half years in prison last month, after which the fierce Kremlin critic blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his persecution and poisoning. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the ruling "deeply concerning" and urged the Russian government to "immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Navalny," as well as the scores of other Russian citizens detained for protesting his arrest.

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