Biden announces 500 new sanctions targeting Russia over war on Ukraine, Navalny death

Biden announces 500 new sanctions targeting Russia over war on Ukraine, Navalny death

President Biden announced Friday that the U.S. is imposing more than 500 new sanctions targeting Russia, marking two years since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and responding to the death last week of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

“If Putin does not pay the price for his death and destruction, he will keep going,” Biden said in a statement. “And the costs to the United States—along with our NATO Allies and partners in Europe and around the world—will rise.”

The U.S., along with international partners, have sought to use sanctions to financially squeeze Putin’s ability to wage war on Ukraine — pairing them with military, economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine to help the country push back against the Russian invading forces.

The package to be announced Friday will include sanctions targeting individuals connected to Navalny’s imprisonment, Biden said in his statement, and target Russia’s financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and sanctions evaders across multiple continents.

The U.S. is also imposing nearly 100 new export restrictions, blocking the shipment of items to Russia in a warning to exporters that they can face American sanctions for facilitating such deliveries to Russia.

Additionally, Biden said sanctions will target Russia’s energy profits, and that the U.S. will “strengthen support for civil society, independent media, and those who fight for democracy around the world.”

The president further called for House lawmakers to pass the $95 billion national security supplemental that includes more than $60 billion in funding related to supporting Ukraine — the majority of those dollars earmarked for U.S. weapons production to backfill supplies already sent to Ukraine.

“Two years into this war, the people of Ukraine continue to fight with tremendous courage. But they are running out of ammunition,” Biden said. “Ukraine needs more supplies from the United States to hold the line against Russia’s relentless attacks, which are enabled by arms and ammunition from Iran and North Korea. That’s why the House of Representatives must pass the bipartisan national security supplemental bill, before it’s too late.”

Russia, however, has shown a remarkable ability to resist the sanctions pressure, maintaining an occupation of an estimated 20 percent of Ukrainian territory over the course of two years of war. That territory includes land it seized in 2014 in Luhansk, Donetsk and the Crimean Peninsula.

And while Russian military casualty figures are estimated to be about 60,000 killed and roughly 300,000 injured, the Kremlin has so far demonstrated an ability to outgun and outman Ukrainian forces.

A key part of Putin’s war strategy is to try to outlast the unity and solidarity of Western and democratic nations supporting Ukraine financially and militarily. Russian forces recently captured the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, considered a battlefield gain that came at a high cost to both Russian and Ukrainian troops but provided Moscow with a propaganda victory for its domestic audience.

Meanwhile, the death last week of Russian opposition figure Navalny, long a thorn in Putin’s side, is viewed as a further example of the Russian leader tightening the vice around any resistance to his war aims in Ukraine and suppression of freedoms in Russia.

Biden opened his remarks to governors visiting the White House on Friday morning by underscoring the need to confront Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and the death of Navalny.

The president said he would be speaking later in the day with Group of Seven (G-7), NATO and European Union leaders.

“Remember, the United States pulled together a coalition of more than 50 nations to support Ukraine. We unified and expanded NATO. We can’t walk away now. And that’s what Putin is betting on, he’s betting on we’re going to walk away,” Biden said.

Biden met with Navalny’s widow and daughter Thursday and said he would impose sanctions against Putin in response to the opposition leader’s death. Navalny’s supporters viewed him as one of the greatest hopes for a change in political regime in Russia, and someone who inspired in his followers a sense of fearlessness and chagrin. He had returned to Russia in 2021 after recuperating for nearly a year from an attempted assassination through poisoning.

Navalny was serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence on charges condemned as politically motivated, but maintained communication with the outside world by writing tongue-in-cheek missives that were posted on social media, taking aim at corruption in Russia and criticizing Putin.

His death in a Russian penal colony above the Arctic circle was announced Feb. 16. He collapsed into unconsciousness after going for a walk, the Russian prison services said.

Biden last week echoed Navalny’s wife and supporters in putting the blame on Putin for the opposition leader’s death.

“Make no mistake, Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. Putin is responsible,” Biden said.

Updated at 11:37 a.m. ET

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.