On August 20, 2021, the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on seven Russian agents for their involvement in poisoning Alexei Navalny, a Russian political oppositionist and anti-corruption activist. These sanctions come on the anniversary of Navalny’s poisoning on August 20, 2020. He was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent, that left him hospitalized and in critical condition.
In a joint statement with the U.S., the U.K. imposed sanctions against 7 Russian nationals alleged to have poisoned Navalny with a nerve agent. “The sanctioned individuals are directly responsible for planning or carrying out the attack on Mr. Navalny in Tomsk on [August 20, 2021],” the U.K. press release stated.
The U.K. sanctions include names of members of the FSB Security Service that were implicitly or explicitly involved in the posing. The names include Alexey Alexandrov, Vladimir Bogdanov Ivan Osipov, Kirill Vasilyev, Stanislav Makshakov and Alexei Sedov, and Vladimir Panyaev.
The sanctions include an asset freeze and travel bans against the agents and are included in the UK Autonomous Chemical Weapons sanctions regime. The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that “through our chemical weapons sanctions regime and at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, we are sending a clear message that any use of chemical weapons by the Russian state violates international law, and a transparent criminal investigation must be held.”
The recent sanctions are not the first time the UK imposed sanctions against Russia. In October 2020, UK slapped sanctions against six personnel and an entity for their alleged involvement in masterminding the poison operation against Navalny.
The U.S. Sanctions
The U.S. also imposed sanctions on two separate individuals and four Russian entities allegedly involved in the assassination plan against Navalny.
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released a press statement that stated that “OFAC is designating nine Russian individuals and two Russian entities involved in Navalny’s poisoning or Russia’s chemical weapons program.” The sanctions make the third time the Treasury department issues sanctions in response to the Novichok poisoning or Russia’s chemical program.
The U.S. Department of State also sanctioned two entities, specifically the Russian Ministry of Defense scientific laboratories, involved in producing chemical weapons for Russia. The sanctions are consistent per the U.S. Chemical and Biological Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea Gacki stated in a press statement that the U.S. stands with the U.K. allies to “again condemn the Kremlin’s use of a chemical weapon to target one of Russia’s most prominent opposition leaders.” Gacki continued and said that the Navalny assentation attempt is a “shocking violation of international norms against the use of chemical weapons and was part of an ongoing campaign to silence voices of dissent in Russia.”
Russia denies their U.S. and U.K. claims and said that the sanctions are simply a smear campaign.
With respect to Global Magnitsky sanctions, the U.S., U.K., European Union, and other countries, such as Canada and Australia, are coordinating their sanctions.
The G-7 Communique from the London meeting referred to the G7 joint statement of January 26 on the arrest, sentencing and detention on politically-motivated charges of Alexey Navalny.