Fri, 23 Apr 2021

The United States and the European Union have announced coordinated sanctions against Russian officials over the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, as the White House looks to set a 'very different' course with Moscow while also demonstrating a united front against the Kremlin's 'unacceptable behavior.'

Washington said on March 2 it was placing sanctions on seven senior Russian officials after an intelligence assessment concluded 'with high confidence' that officers from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) were behind the activist's August poisoning.

Washington said it would release the names of the seven individuals later in the day.

The announcement came on the heels of EU sanctions against four senior officials: federal prisons administrator Aleksandr Kalashnikov, Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin, Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov, and National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov.

The four would be the first individuals to be targeted under the EU's new human rights sanctions regime, which came into effect in December 2020.

Officials from President Joe Biden's administration said Washington was also imposing export restrictions on 14 parties involved in biological and chemical production, including nine commercial entities in Russia.

'We are exercising our authority to send a clear signal that Russia's use of chemical weapons in violation of its international human rights commitments have severe consequences,' a senior administration official said during a briefing on March 2.

'We share the EU's assessment that Russia is moving towards authoritarianism,' the official added.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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