January 23, 2022

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Imposing Sanctions on Russia for the Poisoning and Imprisonment of Aleksey Navalny

19 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States joins the European Union in condemning and responding to the Russian Federation’s use of a chemical weapon in the attempted assassination of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny in August 2020 and his subsequent imprisonment in January 2021.  We share the EU’s concerns regarding Russia’s deepening authoritarianism and welcome the EU’s determination to impose sanctions on Russia under its new global human rights authorities.

The U.S. government has exercised its authorities to send a clear signal that Russia’s use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights have severe consequences.  Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes international norms.

The United States has consistently characterized the legal offensive against Mr. Navalny as politically motivated, an assessment shared by our G7 partners and the European Court of Human Rights.  We reiterate our call for the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Navalny.

In today’s actions, the Department of State, under the U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, will expand existing sanctions first imposed on Russia after its 2018 chemical weapon attack against Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom, three years ago this week.  The Department of State has also implemented measures under Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets weapons of mass destruction proliferators, as well as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against multiple Russian individuals and entities associated with the Russian Federation’s chemical weapons program and defense and intelligence sectors.  In addition, the Department will amend Section 126.1 of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations to include Russia in the list of countries subject to a policy of denial for exports of defense articles and defense services, with certain exceptions for exports to Russia in support of government space cooperation.  Exports in support of commercial space cooperation, however, will be restricted following a six-month transition period.

The Department of the Treasury is designating  seven Russian government officials, five of whom were previously designated by the EU and UK for their role in Navalny’s poisoning and two whom the EU designated in response to Mr. Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment.  The Department of Commerce is adding 14 entities to the Entity List based on their proliferation activities in support of Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs and chemical weapons activities.

For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of State’s fact sheet.

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