President Biden to hit Russia with ‘major sanctions’ in response to death of Navalny

President Biden to hit Russia with 'major sanctions' in response to death of Navalny

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday its intention to impose “major sanctions” on Russia in response to the death of Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who died in prison last week under suspicious circumstances.

John Kirby, the White House’s national security communications adviser, explained that these new sanctions aim to hold Russia accountable not only for Navalny’s fate but also for its actions throughout the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. President Joe Biden is set to reveal the specifics of the sanctions package on Friday, refraining from divulging further details until then.

The Biden administration had previously imposed economic sanctions on Russia following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. These measures included blocking major Russian financial institutions from Western financing, prohibiting the import of all Russian energy products into the U.S., and targeting wealthy Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin, among other actions.

Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, characterized the forthcoming sanctions as a continuation of efforts to impose consequences for Russia’s actions. Despite attributing responsibility to Putin, the U.S. has yet to ascertain the circumstances surrounding Navalny’s death while in custody.

Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s wife, has vowed to lead the fight against Putin’s regime. The White House emphasized the urgency of approving $60 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, lamenting the Republican-controlled House of Representatives’ departure for a two-week recess without passing the funding package. Kirby pointed to Ukraine’s recent setback in the town of Avdiivka, seized by Russian forces over the weekend, attributing the retreat to a lack of arms and ammunition resulting from congressional inaction.

In Kirby’s view, securing the funding is critical for supporting Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression, underscoring the tangible impact of such assistance on the battlefield. The administration implored Congress to prioritize the aid package, emphasizing its significance in countering Putin’s aggression and safeguarding Ukraine’s security.