Unlike his predecessor, Biden promises a tougher approach to any aggressive Russian action.
The United States is expected to impose sanctions as early as Tuesday on the Russians linked to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.
President Joe Biden’s decision to impose sanctions for the Navalny poisoning reflects a tougher stance than that taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, who let the incident last August pass without punitive action by the United States.
The sources declined to identify any targets or legal authorities Washington would use to penalize them as it seeks to impose consequences for the poisoning of Navalny. The Kremlin critic fell ill on a flight to Siberia last August and was airlifted to Germany, where doctors concluded he had been poisoned with a nerve agent.
The sources said Monday, on condition of anonymity, that the United States must act under two executive decrees: 13661, which was issued after Russia’s invasion of Crimea, but gives broad authority to target Russian officials, and 13382, released in 2005 to fight proliferation. weapons of mass destruction.
Both orders allow the United States to freeze the U.S. assets of targeted individuals and effectively bar U.S. businesses and individuals from doing business with them.
The sources said the Biden administration also plans to act under the 1991 U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Elimination of War Act, which provides for a variety of punitive measures.
The sources said some people would be targeted by the sanctions that will be announced as early as Tuesday, but declined to name them or say what other sanctions might be imposed.
They added, however, that Washington would maintain waivers allowing foreign aid and certain export licenses for Russia.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the possibility of sanctions.
Top UN human rights experts said on Monday they must blame for attempting to kill Navalny in a series of attacks on critics to stifle dissent.
Many Western countries have said Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent, but the Kremlin denied any role in his illness and said it had seen no evidence that he was poisoned.
After his treatment in Germany, Navalny, 44 returned to Russia in January. He was arrested and later sentenced to over two and a half years in prison for parole violations he said were trumped up.
Biden, who took office as US president in January, called Navalny’s imprisonment “politically motivated” last month and called for his release. He pledged a new and tough approach to Moscow, saying the United States would no longer “turn around” in the face of aggressive Russian action.
Washington and Moscow are at odds on a wide range of issues besides Navalny, such as Russia’s military ambitions in Ukraine and Georgia, as well as cyber attacks on U.S. government agencies last year that Washington attributes to Russia.