The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it imposed sanctions on top Russian government officials over the poisoning and imprisonment of top Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, The Washington Post reports.
The sanctions will block access to funds and other assets by seven Russian officials, though not President Vladimir Putin.
The move marks a different approach from the Trump administration but the sanctions are “considered largely symbolic,” the Post reported.
The administration also announced it would restrict exports of items that can be used to manufacture chemical weapons.
“So to be clear, the United States is neither seeking to reset our relations with Russia, nor are we seeking to escalate,” an administration official told the outlet.
US joins EU:
The US move is similar to that of the European Union. The EU last year imposed similar sanctions but the Trump administration refused to join the effort at the time.
The EU added more sanctions after Navalny, who recovered from the poisoning in Germany, was jailed in Russia upon his return.
“Russia is drifting towards an authoritarian state and driving away from Europe,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. “It is interested in confrontation and disengagement from the European Union.”
US blames Russia for poisoning:
Russia has denied that it poisoned Navalny with a Soviet-era chemical agent but the US has “high confidence” that the Kremlin was responsible, a US official told the Post.
“Russian officials have targeted Mr. Navalny for his activism and efforts to reveal uncomfortable truths about Russian officials’ corruption and to give voice to Russian citizens legitimate grievances with their government and its policies,” the official said.
The Biden administration is separately expected to respond to Russia’s SolarWind hacks that targeted federal agencies and large corporations and bounties Russia reportedly placed on US troops in Afghanistan.