Washington announced today, Tuesday, that it imposed, in coordination with the European Union, sanctions on senior officials and entities in Russia, against the backdrop of accusations against Moscow of poisoning Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.
An American official said that the sanctions imposed by Washington include 7 high-ranking officials, and the official gave a warning to Russia, saying that it must know that its use of chemical weapons will have severe repercussions, pointing to His country’s intelligence estimates concluded that the Russian authorities were behind the poisoning of Navalny.
The US official indicated that his country’s policy towards Russia will be different from that of the previous administration, although Washington does not seek to escalate with Moscow, as he put it.
The sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department included the Director of the Russian Federal Security Service, Alexander Portnikov, Attorney General Igor Krasnov, and former Prime Minister Sergey Kiriyenko.
Coordination with the European Union
In turn, the European Union decided to impose sanctions on 4 Russian officials, for their involvement in what it described as gross human rights violations in Russia.
Sanctions included the head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, the Prosecutor General, the Head of the National Guard, and the head of the Federal Prison Service, for their role in Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment and the suppression of the peaceful protests that followed.
These are the first sanctions imposed by the European Union as part of a new human rights sanctions regime, which was adopted last December.
On January 17, Russian security forces arrested the 44-year-old opposition figure, Navalny, upon his arrival to Moscow from Germany, and he was stopped at the border point at Moscow’s Sheremetyova Airport, while his wife Yulia – who accompanied him on the return flight from Berlin – was allowed to pass.
The Russian prison authorities said that they arrested him on the pretext that he violated the terms of a suspended prison sentence issued against him in 2014.
Prior to Navalny’s travel back to his country, Germany handed Russia a file containing information about his poisoning, and the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had received the file, but it said that there is nothing new in it.
The file of the attempted killing of Navalny added further tensions to relations between Russia and Germany and other European Union countries, which confirmed that the Russian opponent had been poisoned by the nerve gas “Novichok”.
Since late August, Navalny has lived in Germany after he became severely ill during the return trip from Siberia to Moscow as part of an election campaign. He was hospitalized in the Russian city of Omsk, where he stayed for 48 hours, and then he was transferred to Berlin in a coma after the pressure of those close to him.
He was discharged from the hospital in early September, and 3 European laboratories concluded that he was poisoned with “Novichok”, which was developed during the Soviet era, and this conclusion was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, despite Moscow’s repeated denials.
Navalny says that the Russian security services orchestrated to assassinate him at the direct order of President Vladimir Putin, but Moscow denies this altogether, denouncing this narrative, which it considered a Western conspiracy, and questioned the healthy lifestyle of the opponent.