US and EU hit Russia with more sanctions over Alexei Navalny's death

US President Joe Biden speaks about Russian sanctions at the White House, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024
US President Joe Biden speaks about Russian sanctions at the White House, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 Copyright Evan Vucci/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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The opposition activist died last week in an Arctic penal colony and it's also the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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The US government imposed roughly 600 new sanctions on Russia and its war machine in the largest single round of penalties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

The EU, for its part, added sanctions on several foreign companies over allegations that they have exported dual-use goods to Russia that could be used in its war against Ukraine. The 27-nation bloc also targeted scores of Russian officials, including members of the judiciary, local politicians and people it said were "responsible for the illegal deportation and military re-education of Ukrainian children.”

President Joe Biden said the sanctions come in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal war of conquest” and to Navalny’s death, adding that “we in the United States are going to continue to ensure that Putin pays a price for his aggression abroad and repression at home."

But while previous sanctions have increased costs for Russia’s ability to fight in Ukraine, they appear to have done little so far to deter Putin and it was unclear that the latest round would significantly alter that.

In specific response to Navalny’s death, the State Department targeted three Russian officials the US says are connected to his death, including the deputy director of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, who was promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general on Monday, three days after Navalny died.

The sanctions bar the officials from traveling to the US and block access to US-owned property. But they appear largely symbolic given that the officials are unlikely to travel to or have assets or family in the West.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said to “expect more” action later related to Navalny's death, adding that "today this just a start.”

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