US sanctions Russian intelligence agents accused of poisoning Navalny

Washington, Aug 17 (EFE).- The United States sanctioned four Russian intelligence operatives on Thursday for their alleged involvement in the 2020 poisoning of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The US State Department has banned Alexey Alexandrov, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, Ivan Osipov and Vladimir Panyaev, all agents linked to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB, a successor of the KGB), from entering the country, while the Treasury Department froze any assets they may have in the US.

“The assassination attempt against Aleksei Navalny in 2020 represents the Kremlin’s contempt for human rights, and we will continue to use the authorities at our disposal to hold the Kremlin’s willing would-be executioners to account,” said Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement.

On August 20, 2020, Navalny, a lawyer, anti-corruption activist and prominent critic of president Vladimir Putin, became seriously ill during a flight to Moscow, prompting an emergency landing in the Russian city of Omsk, where he was treated in a local hospital before being medically evacuated to Berlin.

According to the United States, the opposition leader had been poisoned by the FSB with novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union which has only been used by Russia.

The US claims that FSB agents surveilled Navalny during his visits to the cities of Tomsk and Omsk and broke into his hotel to apply the chemical agent to his belongings.

The agents targeted by the sanctions belong to the FSB Criminalistics Institute, a laboratory founded during the Soviet era that has been under US sanctions since 2021.

Navalny was already serving sentences totalling 11.5 years on fraud and other charges that he denies when he was sentenced to another 19 years in prison on Aug. 4 for extremism.

The US has demanded his “immediate” release and called the sentence “unjust”. EFE


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