- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Moscow will absolutely respond to U.S. sanctions imposed by the Biden administration over the poisoning of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pledged Tuesday.

Russian state media reported that Mr. Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, made it clear his country would retaliate against U.S. sanctions while speaking in advance of them being imposed as anticipated.

“We will respond without fail,” Mr. Lavrov said, Russia’s government-owned TASS news agency reported. “Reciprocity, which is one of the rules of diplomacy, has not been annulled.”

The White House has since announced sanctions on seven members of the Russian government, as well export controls on 14 parties, including nine Russian commercial entities and a government institute.

Mr. Navalny, 44, has for years been among the most vocal and prominent critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government. He became ill in August, and it was later determined that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. The U.S. intelligence community subsequently assessed Russian government officials were responsible and imposed the sanctions accordingly.

Russian police arrested Mr. Navalny in January upon his return from Germany, where he had been recovering. A judge in Moscow has since ordered him to serve a prison sentence for parole violations.

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