USA and European Union to sanction Russian Federation for poisoning Alexei Navalny

03 Mars, 2021, 10:40 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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An anti-corruption campaigner, he has always been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to Mr Putin's rule. He was medically evacuated to Germany, where doctors determined he had been poisoned.

The United Nations has expressed support for Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The official said the administration had requested "new or declassified intelligence community assessments in four such areas, and plan to respond to each of them in the coming weeks".

The individuals sanctioned by the USA included the head of Russia's Federal Security Service, the head of prisons, Kremlin and defense figures, and Russia's prosecutor general. Aleksey Krivoruchko and Gen. of the Army Pavel Popov; and Andrei Yarin, director of Russia's Presidential Domestic Policy Directorate.

USA secretary of the treasury Janet Yellen, said: "The Kremlin's use of chemical weapons to silence a political opponent and intimidate others demonstrates its flagrant disregard for global norms. Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes worldwide norms". However, the US list did not include any of Russia's most powerful businesspeople and bankers, oligarchs whom Navalny has long said the West would have to sanction to get the attention of Putin.

Long a target in Russian government attempts to shut down dissent, Navalny has repeatedly appealed to the West to start targeting the most powerful business and financial oligarchs of his country, saying only then would Russian leaders take worldwide sanctions seriously.

"We're in many ways catching up to the EU and United Kingdom", one of the USA officials said, noting that European officials announced some of their sanctions in October and are adding to those sanctions on Tuesday.

In Tuesday's conference call, officials also announced that a US intelligence assessment had concluded with "high confidence" that Russian intelligence officers "used a nerve agent known as Novichok to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on August 20, 2020".

An EU statement said the four were listed "over their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Mr Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment".

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"We join the European Union in condemning Alexei Navalny's poisoning as well as his arrest and imprisonment by the Russian government".

In Tuesday's briefing, Biden administration officials reiterated a call for Navalny's release. Both the underlying fraud case and his current imprisonment have been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

Tuesday's step "was not meant to be a silver bullet or an end date to what has been a hard relationship with Russia", White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

The sanctions are the first imposed on Russian Federation by the administration of President Joe Biden.

The Biden administration planned further steps to respond to what officials called "a number of destabilizing actions", by Russian Federation. The officials said the United States was catching up with measures the European Union had taken earlier and mirroring others it was taking now.

Biden's administration has indicated that it is "not seeking to escalate, not seeking to reset" relations with Russian Federation. "We're prepared for it to be a challenging relationship".

"We expect the relationship to continue to be a challenge". "Given Russia's conduct in recent months, there will no doubt be adversarial elements and we will not shy away from those".

The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Moscow over its interference in the 2016 presidential elections by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats.

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