Kremlin says US won’t stop trying to ‘contain’ Russia as Biden administration threatens more sanctions

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US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet during the US-Russia summit at Villa La Grange on 16 June, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet during the US-Russia summit at Villa La Grange on 16 June, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Getty Images)

The Kremlin has called for “pragmatism and sobriety” after the Biden administration revealed plans for more sanctions over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was aware of the planned expansion of sanctions, which US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on CNN on Sunday.

Mr Peskov said that despite US President Joe Biden’s “words about the constructive mood” during a summit in Geneva last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin expected the US to continue “its policy of containing Russia”.

“The president’s words about the constructive mood during the summit do not indicate that we have moved away from a sober assessment of our bilateral relations with the United States,” the Kremlin spokesperson said.

“Pragmatism and sobriety are most important in these relations,” he said. “And both suggest that the constructive, positive results of the summit absolutely do not indicate that the United States will abandon its policy of containing Russia.”

The threat of fresh sanctions come nearly a year after Mr Navalny was flown to Germany last August after being poisoned with what doctors said was the nerve agent Novichok.

Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of being behind for the attack.

Mr Navalny has been held in prison for months after being accused of violating the terms of his probation by failing to show up for inspections while receiving medical care in Germany.

Last week, Mr Biden said he had warned Mr Putin during their summit that there would be consequences if Mr Navalny dies in prison.

“I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Mr Biden said.

Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union, Mr Sullivan said the US was “preparing another package of sanctions to apply” in connection with Mr Navalny’s case.

“We’ve shown all along the way that we are not going to pull our punches, whether it’s on solar winds, or election interference, or Navalny when it comes to responding to Russia’s harmful activities,” the national security adviser said.

Mr Sullivan said the sanctions would come once the US could “ensure that we are getting the right targets”.

“When we do that, we will impose further sanctions with respect to chemical weapons,” he said.

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