The White House extends sanctions on Russia over the death of Alexei Navalny

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

Gonzalo Fuentes Reuters

The White House plans to announce new sanctions against Russia in response to the death last week of high-profile Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a spokesman for the National Security John Kirby he said on Tuesday.

“Whatever story the Russian government decides 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 major sanctions package on Friday of this week.”

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

Kirby noted that the new sanctions would build on the ongoing effort to stifle Russia’s economy, while also adding specific restrictions on Navalny’s death. He added that details on the sanctions would be available on Friday.

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

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

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

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

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