The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on seven senior Russian officials over the attempted assassination of opposition leader Alexei Navalny using a nerve agent, and his subsequent jailing.
"Henceforth, any person who knowingly engages in a significant transaction with any of the persons will be subject to mandatory sanctions".
Officials said that the United States would in the coming weeks also roll out intelligence assessments on other points of concern with Russian Federation. The Kremlin has denied any role in his illness and said it had seen no proof he was poisoned.
European Union headquarters said the four were listed "over their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Alexei Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment".
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kremlin condemned moves to impose sanctions.
Tuesday's sanctions would be the first of several steps by the Biden administration to "respond to a number of destabilizing actions", said one of the administration officials, who briefed reporters on the condition they not be identified further. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Moscow will "invariably" respond to USA sanctions, while the Kremlin said the new sanctions would not achieve their aims and worsen already strained ties.
Working with USA allies, "we must use an array of tools, including sanctions, to meaningfully deter, repel, and punish Moscow's transgressions", Schiff said in a statement.
"The US government has exercised its authorities to send a clear signal that Russia's use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights have severe consequences", Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
"But I should point out that this is a very short list and it's a list that doesn't include Putin's billionaire cronies".
"Putin is a coward who hires hitmen to keep his grip on power, but the Russian people are exhausted of living under a paranoid despot", Senator Ben Sasse said in his statement.
Browder said one reason why Biden has not taken such measures is because he was seeking a multilateral strategy by combining forces with the EU.
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. Two days later, he was flown to Berlin for treatment while still in a coma.
"The use of any chemical weapon directly violates worldwide legal obligations and norms of civilized conduct and our actions today fall into a number of categories and reflect a whole of government response". Labs in Germany, France and Sweden have also confirmed the Soviet-era agent.
There were no U.S. sanctions specifically aimed at Vladimir Putin or oligarchs loyal to him.
Navalny has persisted in needling Putin, releasing a viral video that purported to show a palatial Black Sea residence belonging to the president, who was forced to deny publicly that it was his.
In mid-January, Navalny returned to Russian Federation after receiving treatment in Germany following an alleged poisoning in Siberia.
The EU, which already had imposed sanctions against a small number of Russian officials, is expected to announce more sanctions.
In 2016, for instance, the Obama administration responded to interference by the Kremlin in the presidential election by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats who officials said were actually spies and by shuttering two Russian compounds in Maryland and NY.