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US imposes 'crushing' sanctions on Russia 2 years after Ukraine invasion

The Biden administration on Friday announced more than 500 sanctions on Russia, its "enablers," and its "war machine" as the world marks two years since Russia attacked Ukraine.

This is the largest single tranche since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion, administration officials said.

"Today, I am announcing more than 500 new sanctions against Russia for its ongoing war of conquest on Ukraine and for the death of Aleksey Navalny, who was a courageous anti-corruption activist and Putin's fiercest opposition leader," President Joe Biden said in the statement released by the White House. "These sanctions will target individuals connected to Navalny's imprisonment as well as Russia's financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and sanctions evaders across multiple continents. They will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home."

"We are also imposing new export restrictions on nearly 100 entities for providing backdoor support for Russia's war machine," Biden continued. "We are taking action to further reduce Russia's energy revenues. And I've directed my team to strengthen support for civil society, independent media, and those who fight for democracy around the world."

Later Friday, Biden gave brief remarks on the two-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war as he welcomed governors to the White House.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks to a bipartisan group of governors in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, during the National Governors Association Winter Meeting, on Feb. 23, 2024. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks to a bipartisan group of governors in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, during the National Governors Association Winter Meeting, on Feb. 23, 2024. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

"Putin believed he could easily bend the will and break the resolve of free people of Ukraine," Biden said. "That he could roll into Ukraine, and he would roll over them. Two years later, he remains wrong."

"The people of Ukraine remain unbowed and unbroken in the face of Putin's vigorous onslaught. This is due to their sheer bravery and sacrifice, but it's also due to us," Biden continued as he highlighted the U.S. role in building an international coalition to support Ukraine.

But Biden said Congress must do its part by passing additional aid and criticized Speaker Mike Johnson for not taking up a Senate-passed foreign aid bill before the House left for a two-week recess.

"The clock is ticking," Biden said. "Brave Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are dying. Russia has taken Ukraine territory for the first time in many months. But here in America, the speaker gave the House a two-week week vacation. They have to come back. They have to come back get this done."

PHOTO: President Joe Biden meets with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya on Feb. 22, 2022. (@POTUS/X)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden meets with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya on Feb. 22, 2022. (@POTUS/X)

The sanctions, to be rolled out by the Treasury Department and State Department, include additional measures intended to punish the Kremlin for its role in the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, officials said.

Following a meeting on Thursday with Navalny's widow and daughter in San Francisco, Biden previewed the action, saying his administration would be "announcing sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow."

MORE: Biden meets with widow, daughter of Alexei Navalny

Regarding Navalny, the State Department said it is sanctioning three individuals tied to Russian Penal Colony IK-3: the prison warden, regional prison head and deputy director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia.

On Thursday, a high-level State Department official described the pending sanctions as "crushing."

"Some of them will be targeted at folks directly involved in Navalany's death. The vast majority of them though are designed to further attrite Putin's war machine -- to close the gaps in the sanctions regime that he has been able to evade," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said speaking at an event in Washington.

Many of the measures will take aim at Russia's defense sector, including a number of entities already sanctioned by the U.S.

PHOTO: An aerial view taken on April 12, 2022, shows the city of Mariupol, during Russia's military invasion launched on Ukraine.  (Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: An aerial view taken on April 12, 2022, shows the city of Mariupol, during Russia's military invasion launched on Ukraine. (Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)

MORE: Alexei Navalny's death listed as 'natural,' mother says, accusing Russia of blackmail

Those imposed as punishment for Navalny's death in a remote Russian prisoner target individuals thought to have played a part in his detention and demise, officials added.

Throughout Russia's war on Ukraine, the U.S. has sought to weaken Moscow's military by targeting its economy -- limiting its ability to import key technology to fuel its defense-industrial complex, reduce the value of its exports, and cut Russia off from the international banking system.

Despite the historic effort, Russia's economy has grown over the last two years due in part to the country's steady trade with partners like China and India. The Kremlin has also managed to keep its arsenals stocked, resorting to sourcing some weapons from Iran and North Korea -- two countries that are also heavily sanctioned by the West.

"[Vladimir Putin] and his tricksters have found a lot of ways to evade sanctions," Nuland conceded. "That is why when you see this package that we're going to launch in a couple days, it is very heavily focused on evasion, on nodes and networks and countries that help evade -- willingly or otherwise -- and on the banks that support and allow that kind of evasion."

Nuland also predicted the administration would also impose additional penalties tied to Navalny's death in the future.

"I anticipate as time goes on we will be able to put forward more and more sanctions on folks directly responsible for Navalny's death," she said.

The U.K. announced its own sanctions against six Russian officials on Wednesday.

"History is watching. The failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will not be forgotten," said Biden on Friday. "Now is the time for us to stand strong with Ukraine and stand united with our Allies and partners. Now is the time to prove that the United States stands up for freedom and bows down to no one."

ABC News' Jon Haworth contributed to this report.

US imposes 'crushing' sanctions on Russia 2 years after Ukraine invasion originally appeared on abcnews.go.com