Joe Biden

Biden Announces 'Major Sanctions' for Russia Following Navalny's Death

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US President Joe Biden has announced a major sanctions package targeting Russia will be unveiled this Friday, February 23rd. 

President Biden’s announcement comes after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in a Russian penal colony earlier last week. 

Navalny had already been the subject of two previous assassination attempts with deadly chemical and nerve agents in 2017 and 2020, respectively. 

“It is the Russian Government that is responsible for Navalny’s death while in detention,” said US State Department correspondent Matthew Miller. 

Miller continued, explaining that “at President Biden’s direction, we will be announcing a major sanctions package on Friday to hold Russia accountable for Navalny’s death in prison, and for its actions over the course of the vicious and brutal war they have waged in Ukraine for the past two years. 

Lawmakers reacted to Navalny’s death by condemning Russia’s actions while demanding Biden keep Russia accountable.

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) urged Biden increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to dissuade him from committing any future similar acts and release American hostages. 

“The death of Alexei Navalny is a tragedy that shows who Putin is: a ruthless thug that will kill anyone that opposes his tyranny,” said Senator Scott. “Biden must hold Putin accountable and demand the immediate release of Evan Gershkovich, Paul Whelan & all Americans unjustly held in Russian prisons.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lauded Navalny’s career and commitment to pursuing a free and democratic Russia. 

“For more than 10 years, Navalny openly opposed the Russian dictator, calling out the “crooks and thieves” in the Kremlin who enabled his corrupt reign,” wrote Senator Rubio. 

The White House took Navalny’s death as an opportunity to remind members of the House of Representatives of the importance of continuing to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Last week, the US Senate passed a sweeping $95 billion foreign aid spending bill that would, among other things, fund Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. 

The foreign aid package will now head to the House of Representatives, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has stated he will halt the bill from reaching the floor for a vote. 

Miller called on House Republicans to reconsider in order “to enable Ukraine and its people to defend against the ongoing invasion, and also to advance U.S. national security interests.”

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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