Biden administration announces new sanctions on anniversary of Navalny poisoning
The Biden administration on Friday levied additional sanctions against nine Russian individuals and two entities with ties to Moscow’s chemical weapons program to mark the anniversary of the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
The U.S. announced the sanctions in coordination with the United Kingdom, which also targeted several Russian citizens with economic sanctions.
“Navalny’s poisoning was a shocking violation of international norms against the use of chemical weapons and was part of an ongoing campaign to silence voices of dissent in Russia,” Andrea Gacki, director of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.
The sanctions apply to nine Russians with ties to the country’s chemical weapons program or the Federal Security Service, which the U.S. has held responsible for Navalny’s poisoning with a nerve agent last year.
“Eight of the individuals targeted today participated in Russia’s operation to assassinate Navalny. These individuals collaborated to surveil Navalny ahead of the attack, break into his hotel room and apply the chemical weapon to his personal belongings, and they attempted to erase any evidence of their operation following the attack,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The sanctions will block all property and holdings the individuals and entities have that are in the United States.
The sanctions apply to Vladimir Bogdanov, Stanislav Makshakov, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, Alexey Alexandrov, Ivan Osipov, Vladimir Panyaev, Aleksei Sedov, Artur Zhirov and Kirill Vasiliev.
The Treasury Department is additionally targeting the FSB Criminalistics Institute in Russia, which is a unit founded under the KGB that reportedly employed most individuals connected to the Navalny attack.
The sanctions also apply to the Russian State Institute for Experimental Military Medicine, a scientific research organization specializing in security and defense.
Navalny, 45, is a blogger and activist who is an outspoken critic of Putin’s government.
He was poisoned last year using a nerve agent when flying back to Moscow. Though he survived, he was arrested in January when he returned to Russia. An ensuing hunger strike led to concerns about his health and the possibility that he could die in prison.
The White House has repeatedly warned Russia of severe consequences if Navalny dies in prison.