U.S. Expands Russia Sanctions Over Navalny Poisoning

The United States has expanded its export restrictions to Russia as part of sanctions over the poisoning of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the Commerce Department announcedWednesday.

The department said that, starting Thursday, its Bureau of Industry and Security will review Russia-bound national security items “under a presumption of denial for exports and re-exports.”

“The Department of Commerce is committed to preventing Russia from accessing sensitive U.S. technologies that might be diverted to its malign chemical weapons activities,” it said in a statement.

The department also suspended the export of unrestricted software and technology, as well as servicing and replacement parts and equipment that had been exported to Russia.

It exempted a list of national security items from the export restrictions, including those in support of aviation and commercial space launches, until Sept. 1.

The latest restrictions follow President Joe Biden’s first Russia sanctions since taking office in January earlier this month. In a Wednesday interview with ABC News, Biden said he agrees with the assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer” and that “you’ll see shortly the price he’s going to pay.”

European scientists and the global chemical weapons watchdog determined that Navalny was poisoned with a new variant of Novichok when he fell ill in August 2020. The Kremlin has denied involvement and cast doubt on whether Navalny — who is serving two and a half years in jail after returning to Russia from recovery in Germany in January — was poisoned at all.

In its statement, the Commerce Department accused Russia of “directly put[ting] its own citizens and those of other countries at mortal risk” with the use of illegal nerve agents against dissidents.

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