Sullivan says US preparing more Russia sanctions over Navalny
National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday said the U.S. is preparing to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
CNN "State of the Union's" Dana Bash asked Sullivan why the Biden administration had not imposed another round of sanctions, noting that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) had called on the White House to do so. That followed a similar call from Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking members of their respective Foreign Affairs committees.
"Well, first, Dana, I think it's very important for your viewers to understand that we have sanctioned Russia for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny," Sullivan responded. “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.”
Sullivan also noted President Biden had already signed an executive order that would give him even more leeway to impose penalties against Russia if they continued to engage in similar activities.
When asked by Bash if more sanctions were coming soon, Sullivan said, “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.”
The White House in March announced a first round of sanctions on Russia after the intelligence community concluded with “high confidence” that officers with Russia’s Federal Security Service used the Novichok nerve agent to poison Navalny in August 2020.
Biden and Russian President Vladmir Putin met earlier this week at a bilateral summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the first meeting between the two leaders since Biden took office. The meeting lasted for three hours and the presidents spoke about issues including human rights abuses, cybersecurity, and allegations of election meddling.
Former National Security Council official Fiona Hill told John Dickerson on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that additional sanctions were “obligatory.”
“Well, those are actually obligatory because Navalny was poisoned, as we all now know, with Novichok, which is a banned nerve agent, essentially an illegal chemical weapon. It's the same substance that was used in a different form against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia in Solsbury back in 2018, which some people might recall,” Hill said.
“And on that same occasion, it also triggered a similar set of sanctions and other responses the Russians undertook to actually destroy all of their chemical weapons stockpiles,” Hill added.
Hill said that given the fact that Biden had brought up Navalny’s poisoning during his meeting with Putin and the international reaction that had already stemmed from the incident, she believed Russia should already have anticipated that sanctions were coming.
"I made it clear to him that I believed the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia," Biden said in a press conference after meeting with Putin.