The Biden Administration has announced new sanctions on Russia as a response to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and then for Russia arresting him and sending him to a penal colony in Siberia. The move comes as the U.S. intelligence community concludes with “high confidence” that Navalny was poisoned last year using a banned nerve agent called Novichok by Russia’s security services. After making it to Germany, Navalny was successfully treated and he later returned to Russia in January of 2021 where he was arrested and sent to a penal colony in Siberia for three years.
“Russia has used poisoning as a method of assassination on numerous occasions in the past, it’s like their favorite past time or something”, says Oscar Soto, a Russia security researcher at George Washington University.
The new sanctions were imposed by the Treasury Department, State Department and Commerce Department and include seven senior members of the Russian government and were made under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act. The new sanctions were closely coordinated with the European Union which is taking similar steps against Russia. Additionally, the Russian Federal Security Service and its chief, Alexander Vasilievich Bortniknov along with three Russian research institutes also saw sanctions imposed against them. According to the Biden administration, the U.S. is planning further actions as well. During President Biden’s first phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, he made clear that additional action will be taken for Russia placing bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.