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WH sanctions Russia over Navalny poisoning

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The White House announced Tuesday it has sanctioned seven Russian officials along with more than a dozen businesses and other entities, over a nearly fatal nerve-agent attack on Vladimir Putin opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (March 2)

Video Transcript

JEN PSAKI: The Biden-Harris administration is announcing key conclusions from an intelligence community assessment on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny as well as measures to hold Russia accountable for this action. The intelligence community assesses with high confidence that officers of Russia's Federal Security Service used a nerve agent to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on August 20, 2020. The use of any chemical weapon directly violates international legal obligations and norms of civilized conduct.

And our actions today fall into a number of categories and reflect a whole of government response. We are also working with Congress to ensure we're faithfully implementing the Chemical and Biological Weapons Act. Today, the United States is announcing sanctions on seven senior members of the Russian government, an expansion of sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, new export restrictions on items that could be used for biological agent and chemical production, and visa restrictions.

And the Department of State's Commerce and Treasury will also have releases out shortly with further details. We also reiterate our call for the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Navalny. The announcement we're making today was done in harmony with the EU announcement. It was not meant to be a silver bullet or an ending to what has been a difficult relationship with Russia. We expect the relationship to continue to be a challenge. We're prepared for that.

And we're neither seeking to reset our relations with Russia nor are we seeking to escalate. There's also an ongoing process as you know, to consider a number of steps of concerning behavior taken by the Russians that is still ongoing. We're not naive about the challenge. We continue to believe it's a challenging relationship. The president made that clear and made clear what our focus is when he spoke with President Putin. And that review is ongoing. And we, of course, reserve the right to take additional steps and taken additional actions at the conclusion.