The Biden administration announced sanctions of Russian officials and businesses Tuesday related to the poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose detention drew tens of thousands of protesters out into the streets of Russian cities this winter. Senior administration officials announced the sanctions but didn't immediately identify the Russian officials named in them, per the AP. The Biden administration also announced sanctions for 14 businesses and another enterprise, most of which it said were involved in production of biological and chemical agents. Tuesday's sanctions would be the first of several steps by the Biden administration to "respond to a number of destabilizing actions," said one official. The sanctions are the first against Russia by the Biden administration, which has pledged to confront President Vladimir Putin for alleged attacks on Russian opposition figures and hacking abroad, including of US government agencies and US businesses.
While president, Donald Trump had spoken admiringly of Putin and resisted criticism and many proposed penalties of Putin's government. The Biden administration coordinated the sanctions with the EU, which already had imposed sanctions against a small number of Russian officials and is expected to announce more. The Biden administration had forecast actions against Russia for weeks. Besides the Navalny sanctions, officials have said the administration plans to respond soon to the massive Russian hack of federal government agencies and private corporations that laid bare vulnerabilities in the cyber supply chain and exposed potentially sensitive secrets to elite Kremlin spies. Navalny, 44, was sickened last August by a Russian nerve agent, Novichok, in an attack that the US and others linked to Putin's security services. After months of recuperation in Germany, Navalny flew home to Moscow in January and was arrested upon arrival for an alleged parole violation.
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