The US is preparing “major sanctions” against Russia due to Navalny’s death

The Biden administration is preparing “major sanctions” against Moscow in response to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a White House official said Tuesday.

John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the sanctions would be announced on Friday. President Biden said there was “no doubt” that the government of Vladimir V. Putin was behind Mr. Navalny’s death.

“Whatever story the Russian government chooses to tell the world, it is clear that President Putin and his government are responsible for the death of Mr. Navalny,” Mr. Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Kirby declined to specify what would be included in the sanctions package, but said it would be designed to “hold Russia accountable for what happened to Mr Navalny and, quite frankly, for all its actions during this vicious and brutal war that has been raging for two years.”

Russian officials said Navalny, 47, lost consciousness and died after walking through the Arctic prison to which he was transferred last year on Friday. Russia has announced an investigation into Mr Navalny’s death, but Mr Kirby said on Tuesday that “regardless of the actual scientific answer, Mr Putin is responsible for it”.

“In the absence of some credible investigation into his death, it’s hard to get to the point where we can just take the Russians at their word,” he said.

Mr Navalny’s death came as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine neared the end of its second year and billions of dollars in US aid remained stuck in Congress. Mr Navalny, who has been one of Putin’s fiercest critics, has also been a strong voice in condemning the invasion.

“One of the most powerful things we can do right now to stand up to Vladimir Putin, of course, is to reauthorize the bipartisan National Security Amendment Act and support Ukraine as they continue to fight valiantly in defense of their country,” he said. Kirby said.

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