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Biden admin sanctions Russian officials over Alexei Navalny poisoning

Members of the local Russian community in Los Angeles, Calif., rally at a demonstration to support jailed opposition leader Alexi Navalny, at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on February 6, 2021. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Members of the local Russian community in Los Angeles, Calif., rally at a demonstration to support jailed opposition leader Alexi Navalny, at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on February 6, 2021. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

March 2 (UPI) -- The Biden administration imposed its first sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for the poisoning and detention of prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The new sanctions were unveiled Tuesday and were imposed by the Treasury, State and Commerce Departments.

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Included in the sanctions are seven senior members of the Russian government.

"The Kremlin's use of chemical weapons to silence a political opponent and intimidate others demonstrates its flagrant disregard for international norms," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. "We join the [European Union] in condemning Alexei Navalny's poisoning as well as his arrest and imprisonment by the Russian government."

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Navalny, 44, was poisoned while on a flight to Moscow last August and he was later transferred to a hospital in Germany.

Doctors later said he was poisoned with the Soviet era chemical agent novichok, the same substance that was used to target former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain in 2018. Both poisonings were widely blamed on the Russian government.

The sanctions are the first from the U.S. government against Russia since President Joe Biden took office in January. Although Navalny was poisoned last year and spent months in the hospital, the Trump administration never took action against Moscow for the attack.

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The EU sanctioned six Russian officials last October for Navalny's poisoning.

Last month, the Russian government charged Navalny with violating conditions of his parole stemming from a 2014 criminal case. The parole violation occurred because Navalny was at a hospital in Berlin, where he received treatment for the poisoning. He is serving time at a penal colony in Russia.

The 2014 case involved a conviction for embezzling money from a cosmetics company. The European Court of Human Rights said that had been politically motivated.

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