UK imposes sanctions on seven Russians over Navalny poisoning

FCDO says the individuals, said to be FSB members, will be subject to travel bans and asset freezes

Alexei Navalny The Foreign Office said it believed the individuals were directly responsible for planning or carrying out the novichok attack on Alexei Navalny, pictured. Photograph: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters The Foreign Office said it believed the individuals were directly responsible for planning or carrying out the novichok attack on Alexei Navalny, pictured. Photograph: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

PA Media

Sanctions have been imposed on seven Russian nationals accused of involvement in the nerve agent poisoning of the key Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the UK government has said.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced that the individuals, said to be members of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), would be subject to travel bans and asset freezes.

The department said it believed the individuals were directly responsible for planning or carrying out the attack on the Russian opposition leader on 20 August 2020.

The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “Since the horrific poisoning of Alexei Navalny took place a year ago, the UK has been at the forefront of the international response against this appalling act.

“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. We urge Russia to declare its full stock of novichok nerve agents.”

Navalny, one of Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics, was arrested on 17 January after returning from Germany, where he spent months recovering from the poisoning. The anti-corruption investigator blames the Kremlin for targeting him with the nerve agent.

Only action against corruption can solve the world's biggest problems | Alexei Navalny

The UK previously imposed sanctions on six Russians, including the director of the FSB.

The imprisoned Navalny marked the anniversary of the poisoning attack against him by urging global leaders to focus more attention on combating corruption and to target tycoons close to Putin.

The UK and US issued a joint statement in which they reaffirmed their condemnation of the “assassination attempt” on Navalny.

The statement said: “We welcome sanctions actions made by international partners and will continue to coordinate with international partners on further measures. Today the UK and the US join in taking further action against the individuals directly responsible for carrying out the poisoning of Navalny.

“As we did after Russia’s use of a chemical weapon against the Skripals in the United Kingdom in March 2018, we continue to underline that there must be accountability and no impunity for those that use chemical weapons.”

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