National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. is preparing further sanctions against Russia in response to the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. President Biden’s national security adviser made the announcement on CNN on Sunday after being asked if more sanctions were planned.
“I think it’s very important for your viewers to understand that we have sanctioned Russia for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,” Sullivan said. “And we didn’t just do it by ourselves. We rallied European allies in a joint effort to impose costs on Russia for the use of a chemical agent against one of their citizens on Russian soil. And we are preparing another package of sanctions to apply in this case as well.”
The national security adviser’s remarks come just days after Biden had his first in-person summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sullivan spoke to the first round of sanctions the administration imposed in April and signaled that sanctions will be a tool used in cases of further “harmful activities” from Russia.
“We have shown all along the way that we’re not going to pull our punches, whether it’s on SolarWinds, or election interference, or on Navalny, when it comes to responding to Russia’s harmful activities,” Sullivan said. “The president also took the extraordinary step of signing a new executive order that gives him even more expanded authority when it comes to sanctions for Russia’s harmful activities in the future.”
Pressed if the new sanctions in response to the Navalny poisoning would come soon, Sullivan said the “right targets” need to be developed first.
“We will take a backseat to no one. It will come as soon as we have developed the packages to ensure that we are getting the right targets. And when we do that, we will impose further sanctions with respect to chemical weapons,” Sullivan said.
Following his meeting with Putin in Geneva, Biden told reporters that he warned the Russian president that there would be consequences for Russia if Navalny were to die in prison. The opposition leader was sentenced to more than two years of incarceration back in February.
“I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Biden said.