White House to expand Russia sanctions over Alexei Navalny’s death

White House to expand Russia sanctions over Alexei Navalny’s death

Flowers and a portrait of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are seen following Navalny’s death as people gather near the Russian embassy in Paris, France, on February 16, 2024.

Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters

The White House plans to announce new sanctions against Russia in response to the death of prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last week, national security spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday.

“Whatever story the Russian government wants to tell the world, it is clear that President Putin and his government are responsible for Mr. Navalny’s death,” Kirby said. “In response, at the direction of President Biden, we will announce a comprehensive sanctions package on Friday this week.”

The US has already imposed significant trade restrictions on Russia since the war in Ukraine began about two years ago.

Kirby noted that the new sanctions will build on ongoing efforts to suppress Russia’s economy while introducing specific restrictions related to Navalny’s death. He added that details of the sanctions will be available on Friday.

Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, has blamed Putin for her husband’s death last Friday, something the Kremlin has denied. The prison where Navalny was being held claimed he lost consciousness after a walk and could not be revived. The Russian government announced Monday that it was investigating the cause of Navalny’s death.

The aftermath of Navalny’s death comes as Congress is in recess and a $95 billion aid package with significant funding for Ukraine remains stalled.

Kirby said Navalny’s death highlights the need for Congress to end the standoff and pass the funding package to bolster Ukraine’s defenses against Russia.

“One of the most powerful things we can do right now to stand up to Vladimir Putin is, of course, to re-pass the bipartisan national security amendment and support Ukraine,” Kirby said.

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2024-02-20 16:53:18