Biden administration readies new sanctions against Russia, urges House action on Ukraine aid


Capital News Service

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is preparing a new package of sanctions against Russia to be unveiled on Friday, a move to hold Vladimir Putin responsible for the recent death of his most prominent critic, Alexei Navalny, and the two-year war against Ukraine.

“We’ll have a major package announced on Friday,” Biden told reporters Tuesday at the White House before leaving for California.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters that the sanctions are intended “to hold Russia accountable for Navalny’s death in prison and for its actions over the course of the vicious and brutal war they have waged in Ukraine for the past two years.”

He declined to comment on the nature of the sanctions but confirmed that they would be unveiled Friday — one day before the two-year anniversary of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

These will be the latest in the administration’s long string of sanctions against Russia since its attack on Ukraine. The most recent action taken was a December executive order to expand sanction authorities.

Miller also stressed the need for Congress to pass the national security supplemental spending bill, containing over $60 billion in Ukrainian aid. It passed the Senate last week but faces opposition from key House leaders, including Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana.

Johnson favors a national security bill focusing more on the southern border, even though Republicans already rejected a bipartisan immigration measure. However, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said over the weekend that he sees a path forward for the bill.

McCaul wasn’t specific, but many Capitol Hill observers have speculated that Democrats may try to use a procedural step, known as a discharge petition, to bring the bill to the House floor.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, said last week “all legislative options are on the table, and that certainly includes a discharge petition.”

“Without more support from Congress,” Miller said at the briefing, “Ukraine will not be able to replenish its air defenses, and the ammunition supplies to help protect itself from Russia’s aggression.”