By Tony Winterburn • 23 February 2021 • 7:55
US President Joe Biden To Slam Sanctions On Russia-Something Trump Always Backed Away From.
US PRESIDENT Joe Biden and his administration are preparing to issue sanctions on Russia over the jailing of Russian opposition leader and critic, Alexei Navalny. The US is expected to coordinate with it’s European allies a sanctions rollout against Russia in the coming weeks.
US sanctions on Russia would be the Biden administration’s first major step in holding the country accountable for human rights abuses, which President Joe Biden lists as a priority for his foreign policy agenda.
The response would mark a break with the Trump administration, which prepared a sanctions package following Navalny’s poisoning but never actually implemented it. A senior administration official declined to comment on any specific elements of the response, but reiterated that “we are considering available policy options.”
“Suffice it to say,” the official added, “we won’t stand by idly in the face of these human rights abuses.”
Navalny’s poisoning by Russian security forces last August and his recent jailing in Moscow has been deemed urgent enough to warrant a response, even if the broader review of U.S.-Russia policy — launched by the administration in January — is still ongoing, said the people familiar with the internal discussions.
Several Russia experts have said the U.S. should not wait to respond, especially after a Russian court paved the way last week for Navalny to be transferred to a penal colony after he lost an appeal and had his sentence reduced by weeks.
“They’re right to do this broader review, but on Navalny, they should take action sooner,” said Daniel Fried, who served as assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department from 2005 to 2009.
“I don’t think we can stop [Russian President] Putin from sending Navalny to a penal colony,” said Fried. “But by acting quickly now, at least it’s in Putin’s calculation that the U.S. is willing to act.”
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