US Considers More Sanctions on Russia After Navalny’s Death

Mon Feb 19 2024
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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden announced on Monday that the United States is considering imposing further sanctions on Moscow following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison.

“We already have sanctions, but we are considering additional sanctions, yes,” said Biden, directly blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “thugs” for Navalny’s death last week during a press briefing in Washington.

Biden and Western allies have utilized unprecedented sanctions to curb support for Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine’s conflict while simultaneously providing Kyiv with weapons and aid.

However, Russia has resiliently withstood the initial impact and put its economy on a war footing, intensifying production and recruitment efforts while imprisoning critics of the invasion.

Concerns have mounted over Washington’s future commitment to Ukraine, with existing US funding depleted and $60 billion in new military aid stalled by former President Donald Trump’s allies in the House of Representatives.

Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for the upcoming presidential election in November, opposes aiding Kyiv and has recently blocked a US border reform bill that would have authorized additional assistance to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s troops are outnumbered and fatigued, while Europe faces challenges in rapidly increasing weapons supplies without US support, underscoring the urgency of providing more funding to Kyiv.

Biden criticized Republicans on Monday for their failure to pass the aid package, expressing his willingness to meet with Mike Johnson, Speaker of the Republican-led House of Representatives, despite Johnson’s reluctance to allow a vote on the package.

Although Biden expressed hope that Navalny’s death would influence the passage of the aid, he admitted uncertainty.

Analysts have cautioned that Putin may be waiting for Trump’s potential reelection, which could diminish support for Kyiv.

Trump, who had remained silent for days on Navalny’s death amid mounting criticism, finally addressed the situation on Monday via his Truth Social website, suggesting a connection between Navalny’s demise and the state of affairs in the United States.

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more aware of what is happening,” he wrote, attributing the situation to “crooked, radical left politicians, prosecutors, and judges” leading the nation towards destruction, without mentioning the Russian government or Putin.

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