The imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has resulted in the United States sanctioning several Russian officials for their role in what the US deems an unlawful imprisonment. Navalny is a chief rival of long-standing Russian President Vladimir Putin, who outside democracy advocates accuse of ruling Russian as an anti-democratic, totalitarian state.
Part of the reasoning for the sanctions, the US explained, is due to the attempted assassination of Navalny earlier in 2020, when he was poisoned. While the Russian government did not take credit for that assassination attempt, intelligence agencies outside of Russia have stated there is sufficient evidence to show that Navalny was, in fact, poisoned by agents from Moscow.
Some pundits have noted that this represents a shift in US foreign policy towards Russia. For the four years prior, the US and Russia had enjoyed much closer foreign diplomatic ties. However, since the transition to a new administration, the US might change its course on its relationship with Russia.