The Biden administration has announced sanctions on seven top Russian government figures in retaliation for the nerve-agent poisoning of opposition leader and Putin nemesis Alexei Navalny. The Russian nationals sanctioned by the U.S. include Federal Security Service Director Aleksandr Bortnikov, Presidential Policy Directorate chief Andrei Yarin, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko; Deputy Defense Ministers Aleksey Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov; head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Kalashnikov, and Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov.
Navalny was brought to the brink of death by the Aug. 2020 poisoning, and was arrested following his recovery and return to Russia in January. He has since been sentenced to two-and-half years in prison. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the sanctions will see the top Putin allies be cut off from their financial assets in the United States. It’s the first time the U.S. has taken punitive action against Russia since Biden became president. Administration officials told the The Washington Post that the punishment can be seen as a sign that Biden will treat Russia differently than the Trump administration did.