Aug 20, 2021 - World

U.S. and U.K. sanction more Russians on anniversary of Navalny poisoning

Merkel and Putin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, likely for the final time. Photo: Bergmann/Bundesregierung via Getty Images

The U.S. and the U.K. imposed fresh sanctions on Russian officials and entities on Friday in response to the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which was carried out by Russian intelligence agents one year ago.

Why it matters: The West is seeking to maintain pressure on the Kremlin over its persecution of Navalny, who is serving out a three-year prison sentence for violating his parole while he recovered from the poisoning in Germany last year.

Driving the news: The new sanctions were announced as German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin for the final time, as she will step down after Germany's elections on Sept. 26.

  • The EU did not join the U.S. and U.K. in announcing new sanctions on Russia on Friday, but Merkel called on Navalny to be freed during her meeting with Putin.
  • Putin responded by claiming that Navalny had been imprisoned for violating the law, not for political reasons.
  • On the anniversary of his poisoning, Navalny — an anti-corruption activist frequently described as "the man Putin fears most" — published an op-ed in The Guardian calling on the West to sanction the oligarchs in Putin's entourage, rather than obscure Kremlin officials.

Details: The U.S. and the U.K. jointly targeted seven members of Russia's Federal Security Service allegedly involved in Navalny's poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok.

  • The U.S. also unilaterally sanctioned four Russian entities and two other individuals involved in Navalny's poisoning or the development of chemical weapons.
  • More details.

Go deeper: Russia accuses Navalny allies of funding extremist groups

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