Russia to get hit with ‘major sanctions’ in response to Navalny’s death, US says

(WASHINGTON) — The White House will announce a new “major sanctions” package on Friday “to hold Russia accountable” for the death of Alexei Navalny, the longtime Russian opposition politician and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby.

“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,” Kirby said Tuesday morning. “In response and at President [Joe] Biden’s direction, we will be announcing a major sanctions package on Friday of this week to hold Russia accountable for what happened to Mr. Navalny.”

Kirby did not go into detail about what the new sanctions package would include, but noted the sanctions will also work to hold Russia accountable for its ongoing war with Ukraine.

“I think what you’ll see in this package that we’re going to be announcing Friday is a set of sanctions — a regime that not only is designed to hold Mr. Putin accountable for now two years of war in Ukraine, but also specifically supplemented with additional sanctions regarding Mr. Navalny’s death,” Kirby said.

Later Tuesday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan shed more light on the U.S. move, noting that the administration is timing them to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the start of the conflict.

Asked about what impact the sanctions would have, Sullivan said the upcoming package was “substantial,” and covers “a range of different elements of the Russian defense industrial base, and sources of revenue for the Russian economy” that he said power their war machine and ongoing aggression and repression.

“We believe that will have an impact,” he said.

” … This is another turn of the crank, another turn of the wheel and it is a range of targets a significant range of targets that we have worked persistently and diligently to identify, to continue to impose costs for what Russia has done for what it’s done to the army for what it’s done to Ukraine, and for the threat that it represents to international peace and security,” Sullivan added.

Last week, Navalny died in prison at age 47. Shortly after news of Navalny’s death, Biden placed the blame directly on Putin.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was the result of something that Putin and his friends did,” Biden said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that “Russia is responsible for this.”

Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, on Tuesday called for the remains to be returned so they could be “buried with dignity.”

She released a video in which she alleged that Navalny’s body was being kept from the family because he had been murdered, perhaps by poison.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, on Tuesday said those allegations were “unfounded, unsupported and borish.”

Russia is already heavily sanctioned: sanctions signed by Biden in December went after financial institutions that indirectly allowed Russia to keep building its war arsenal amid its aggression against Ukraine.

ABC News’ Kevin Shalvey and Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.

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