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Biden admin 'deeply concerned' by Russian court sentencing of Navalny

Biden admin 'deeply concerned' by Russian court sentencing of Navalny
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The Biden administration is “deeply concerned” by a Russian court’s decision Tuesday to sentence opposition leader Alexei Navalny to a 32-month prison term, officials said, reiterating its demand that Moscow immediately release Navalny and others detained for protesting his arrest.

“Like every Russian citizen, Mr. Navalny is entitled to the rights provided in the Russian constitution, and Russia has international obligations to respect equality before the law and the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenPompeo violated ethics rules, State Department watchdog finds Iran begins enriching uranium to highest ever level The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden to Putin: Tough sanctions, straight talk MORE said in a statement.

“Even as we work with Russia to advance U.S. interests, we will coordinate closely with our allies and partners to hold Russia accountable for failing to uphold the rights of its citizens,” Blinken added.

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A Moscow court earlier Tuesday ruled that Navalny must serve prison time for violating the terms of his 2014 parole. Russian prosecutors argued he violated the conditions of his release by not checking in while recovering from a nerve agent attack in Germany last year. The U.S. and other nations have blamed Russia’s Federal Security Service in Navalny’s poisoning; Russia has denied involvement.

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden, Japan's PM focus on China, North Korea in first bilateral meeting Castro confirms he's stepping down as Cuban leader White House reverses course on refugee cap after Democratic eruption MORE reiterated Blinken’s statement during a briefing Tuesday afternoon, saying the White House is “deeply concerned” by the decision to sentence Navalny and calling on the Russian government to release Navalny and other Russians who have been unjustly detained. She did not specify any actions the U.S. would take in response.

President BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE has ordered a sweeping intelligence review of Russian aggression, including Moscow’s involvement in the Navalny poisoning as well as the SolarWinds hack, election interference and reports of Russian bounties on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“That’s an ongoing review by the national security team. When they conclude that, they will launch … a policy process to determine what steps we will take from here,” Psaki said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday afternoon that officials are working on the comprehensive review “very expeditiously” and wouldn’t rule out taking action in response to Russia’s treatment of Navalny before the entire review is complete. The review is being headed by Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril HainesHillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions Russia blocks key Biden Cabinet officials from entering in retaliation for sanctions Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE.

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“The president has directed his DNI to undertake this review precisely so that we can have a holistic picture of what the Russians have been up to in recent years so that we can ensure that our policy options, which would include sanctions but not necessarily the extent of it, are calibrated appropriately,” Price told reporters.

Navalny was handed a suspended 3.5 year sentence in 2014 for extortion. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Navalny’s 2014 conviction was politically motivated. He was arrested in Russia last month, prompting widespread protests across the country.

The Biden administration has signaled it plans to take a firm approach to confront Russian aggression while also trying to work with Moscow on issues of mutual concern, including agreeing to a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty with Moscow due to expire this month. Biden spoke with Putin last week and pressed him on Moscow’s treatment of Navalny in addition to other areas of concern.