Biden Announces Over 500 New Sanctions Against Russia

Joe Biden

The Biden administration has announced it will level 500 new sanctions against Russia following the death of jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny in a Siberian prison. 

In a Friday statement from the White House, President Joe Biden announced the sanctions package, which was unveiled just one day shy of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“Today, I am announcing more than 500 new sanctions against Russia for its ongoing war of conquest on Ukraine and for the death of Aleksey Navalny, who was a courageous anti-corruption activist and Putin’s fiercest opposition leader,” Biden said. “These sanctions will target individuals connected to Navalny’s imprisonment as well as Russia’s financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and sanctions evaders across multiple continents. They will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home.”

The package will also include “export restrictions on nearly 100 entities for providing backdoor support for Russia’s war machine,” actions to further reduce Russia’s energy revenues, and directives aimed at strengthening “support for civil society, independent media, and those who fight for democracy around the world.” 

Biden also urged lawmakers in Congress to support funding for Ukraine’s military operations against Russian agression. “History is watching,” the president wrote. “The failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will not be forgotten. Now is the time for us to stand strong with Ukraine and stand united with our Allies and partners. Now is the time to prove that the United States stands up for freedom and bows down to no one.” 

Russian authorities announced Navalny’s death last Friday, claiming the Putin opposition leader, who was serving a 19-year prison sentence on dubious corruption charges, collapsed without warning after taking a walk. Before his imprisonment, Navalny had survived at least two documented assassination attempts by poisoning, and his family has accused the Russian government of both orchestrating his murder and attempting to cover up the evidence by retaining his body. 

Hours after the news broke, President Biden laid responsibility for Navalny’s death directly at the feet of Putin’s government. “Make no mistake, Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. Putin is responsible,” Biden said last Friday. “What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality. No one should be fooled — not in Russia, not at home, not anywhere in the world. Putin does not only target his [the] citizens of other countries, as we’ve seen what’s going on in Ukraine right now, he also inflicts terrible crimes on his own people.”

The president added that while the exact circumstances surrounding the death remain murky “there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.”

Biden met with Navalny’s wife and mother, Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya, on Thursday in San Francisco, and personally expressed his condolences to the family. A White House statement indicated that “the President expressed his admiration for Aleksey Navalny’s extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption and for a free and democratic Russia in which the rule of law applies equally to everyone,” as well as his intention to level sanctions. 

On Wednesday, the United Kingdom leveled sanctions against six Russian correctional officers overseeing the IK-3 “special regime” penal colony where Navalny was last imprisoned. The officials will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans. 

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: “It’s clear that the Russian authorities saw Navalny as a threat and they tried repeatedly to silence him. FSB operatives poisoned him with novichok in 2020, they imprisoned him for peaceful political activities, and they sent him to an Arctic penal colony.” 

“No one should doubt the oppressive nature of the Russian system. That’s why we’re today sanctioning the most senior prison officials responsible for his custody in the penal colony where he spent his final months,” Cameron added. “Those responsible for Navalny’s brutal treatment should be under no illusion – we will hold them accountable.”


By contrast, former President Donald Trump somehow managed to make Navalny’s death and political persecution about himself. On Monday, Trump wrote on Truth Social that “the sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country. It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction.” 

On Tuesday, during a Fox News town hall, Trump told host Laura Ingraham that the $364 million in penalties leveled against him earlier this month in a civil fraud trial brought by the state of New York were “a form of Navalny,” against him. “It is a form of communism or fascism,” he added.

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