The Biden administration has slapped sanctions on seven Russian officials in response to the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
It was among a series of steps the new administration announced Tuesday in its first significant move against Moscow. Senior administration officials stressed that it was being done in coordination with allies like the European Union, which also unveiled sanctions on Tuesday.
Senior administration officials told reporters on a call Tuesday that the Treasury Department is sanctioning seven senior members of the Russian government. The State Department is mirroring previous EU and UK sanctions and expanding sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Act that had first been imposed over its poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal, one official said. The Commerce Department will add 14 parties to the entities list for their engagement "in activities that are contrary to US national security and foreign policy interests," another official said.
"Specifically these parties are all involved in various aspects of biological agents production and chemical production," they said.
The administration officials did not name the targets of these sanctions on the call.
One senior administration official referred to the August 2020 poisoning of Navalny as an attempted assassination and another noted that the intelligence community had assessed with high confidence that Russia's security service, the FSB, had poisoned the opposition leader with the nerve agent Novichok.
Senior administration officials made clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that their approach to Russia would be a break from that of former President Donald Trump, who was criticized for being too soft on Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The tone and substance of our conversations with Russia and our conversations about Russia will be very different from what you saw in the previous administration," one of the officials said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.