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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

Go deeper

21 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.