The United States is reportedly expected to impose sanctions as early as this week on Russians connected to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Sources are declining to identify the targets or legal authorities Washington would use to penalise them as it seeks to impose consequences for the poisoning of Navalny.
He fell ill on a flight in Siberia last August and was airlifted to Germany, where doctors concluded he had been poisoned with a nerve agent.
The State Department on MOnday did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the possibility of sanctions.
Former president Donald Trump did nothing to punish Russia, which top UN human rights experts said was to blame for attempting to kill Navalny as part of a pattern of attacks on critics to quash dissent.
Many Western countries say Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent but the Kremlin denies any role in his illness and has said it has seen no proof he was poisoned.
After his treatment in Germany, Navalny, 44, returned to Russia in January.
He was arrested and later sentenced to more than two-and-a-half years’ jail for parole violations that he said were trumped up.
US President Joe Biden last month called the Navalny’s jailing ‘politically motivated’ and called for his release.
He has pledged a tough new approach towards Moscow, saying the United States will no longer be ‘rolling over’ in the face of aggressive action by Russia.
Washington and Moscow disagree on a range of other issues, such as Russia’s military ambitions in Ukraine and Georgia, and a cyberattack on US agencies last year.