Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Guardian staff and agency

US to unveil major Russia sanctions in wake of Alexei Navalny death

Man in suit and aviator sunglasses
Biden departs the White House for California on Tuesday. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

The US will announce a major package of sanctions against Russia on Friday prompted by the death of political opposition leader Alexei Navalny but also devised as retaliation for the two-year war Vladimir Putin initiated against Ukraine, Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

The US president spoke to reporters on the south lawn of the White House as he headed for a campaign fundraising trip to California, starting with a flight to Los Angeles.

Biden did not give details but said he would provide more information about the package on Friday, which is the eve of the second anniversary of Russian president Vladimir Putin masterminding the invasion of neighbor Ukraine.

Meanwhile, US and other world leaders have expressed outrage of the death of Navalny last Friday in a brutal Arctic penal colony where he had been transferred during his imprisonment by the Kremlin.

The package of new sanctions will “hold Russia accountable for what happened to Mr Navalny” and for its actions over the course of the war in Ukraine, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday morning.

He also declined to provide further details about the reach and nature of the planned new penalties.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kirby said the US is pressing Russia for “complete transparency” on how Navalny died.

The prison service said at the time that Navalny fell unconscious after a walk and died. Biden has blamed Putin.

Meanwhile Lyudmila Navalnaya, Navalny’s mother, appealed to Putin to intervene and turn her son’s body over to her so she can bury him with dignity.

She has been trying to get his body since Saturday. Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, published a video address in which she vowed to continue her late husband’s political work and called on Russians to rally around her as the family were told they would not get access to the body for another two weeks.

The US has already issued a wide array of sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Kirby said: “Whatever story the Russian government decides to tell the world, it’s clear that President Putin and his government are responsible for Mr Navalny’s death.”

The US embassy in Moscow has been seeking more information about Navalny’s death, Kirby said, “but it’s difficult to get a point where you can be confident in what the Russians would say about his death”.

Last week Biden said: “There is no doubt that the death of Navalny is a consequence of something Putin and his thugs did.”

Reuters contributed reporting

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.