US and EU hit Russia with co-ordinated sanctions over attempted murder and jailing of Alexei Navalny

March 02, 2021

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions targeting a number of senior Russian officials and businesses over the attempted murder and jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The 27-nation bloc and the US imposed bans on travel and froze the assets of a number of members of Vladimir Putin's inner circle. They are:

• Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation
• Igor Krasnov, the prosecutor general
• Viktor Zolotov, head of the National Guard
• Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Prison Service
• Aleksandr Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service (FSB)
• Andrei Yarin, chief of the Presidential Policy Directorate
• Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Executive Office
• Aleksey Krivoruchko, deputy minister of defense
• Pavel Popov, deputy minister of defense

An EU statement said those listed were included "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".

US 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 international norms.

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

Meanwhile, the US announced 14 businesses, most of which it said were involved in production of biological and chemical agents, have also been targeted..

Senior members of president did not immediately identify the Russian officials named in them.

One official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said the sanctions would be the first of several steps by Joe Biden's administration to "respond to a number of destabilising actions".

Mr Biden has pledged to confront Mr Putin for alleged attacks on Russian opposition figures and hacking abroad, including of US government agencies and US businesses.

Mr Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator, was arrested in Moscow in January upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

In February, a court sentenced the 44-year-old to two years and eight months in prison for violating the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany.

The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Mr Navalny has rejected as fabricated.

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