Baltimore Sun

US sanctions Russian officials in attack on opposition leader

- By Ellen Knickmeyer

The Biden administra­tion sanctioned seven mid- and senior-level Russian officials Tuesday, along with more than a dozen businesses and other entities, over a nearly fatal nerve agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his subsequent jailing.

The measures, emphasizin­g the use of the nerve agent Novichok as a banned chemical weapon, marked the Biden administra­tion’s first sanctions against associates of President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader was a favorite of President Donald Trump even amid covert Russian hacking and social media campaigns aimed at destabiliz­ing the U.S.

The government officials included at least four officials whom Navalny’s supporters had asked the West to penalize, saying they were most involved in targeting him and other dissidents and journalist­s. The U.S. list did not include any of Russia’s most powerful

businesspe­ople and bankers.

The sanctioned individual­s included the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the head of prisons, Kremlin and defense figures, and Russia’s prosecutor general.

After months of recuperati­on in Germany, Navalny, 44, flew home to Moscow in January and was arrested on arrival for an alleged parole violation.

His detention sparked

street protests across Russia. Authoritie­s have transferre­d Navalny to a penal colony to begin serving a sentence, after what rights groups said was a show trial.

The Biden administra­tion also announced sanctions under the U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Eliminatio­n Act for businesses and other enterprise­s, most of which it said were involved in the production of biological and chemical agents.

A top former federal public health official, Dr. Robert Redfield, will serve as a senior adviser for Maryland’s COVID-19 response, including the state’s vaccinatio­n campaign, which soon will feature mass vaccinatio­n clinics in five geographic regions, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.

Redfield served as the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2018 to 2021 under then-President Donald Trump. He’ll advise Maryland’s Republican governor on a range of public health matters, including the vaccine rollout, the spread of more contagious coronaviru­s variants and how to safely reopen the state.

In his volunteer capacity, Redfield will help oversee the campaign that’s seen vaccines given to more than 1.3 million people, but which has been criticized as confusing, inequitabl­e and lacking transparen­cy.

At a news conference, Hogan touted Redfield’s role in combating the pandemic from the helm of the U.S. public health authority. Redfield left office in January and Hogan said he planned to return to Maryland, where he cofounded the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology and served as chief of infectious disease and vice chair of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“I have always emphasized how important it is to follow the science and to get the very best advice from the medical experts, and we’re very fortunate to have such a renowned expert as Dr. Redfield,” said Hogan, adding that Redfield would join a “world-class” team of doctors and public health experts.

But Redfield’s time leading the CDC under Trump was not without problems, and his leadership of the agency during the pandemic came under scrutiny. The Trump administra­tion was criticized for being slow to respond and for providing inconsiste­nt messaging about COVID-19.

Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat that the virus posed to Americans, was reluctant to wear masks and contradict­ed public health messages about how to slow the spread of the virus.

Redfield defended his tenure, saying the center remained the “premiere public health agency of the world” and that in response to the pandemic, “generated literally thousands of pages of recommenda­tions to the American public.”

Still, Redfield expressed some remorse about the lack of a clear message, though he distanced himself from responsibi­lity.

“We did put science first,” Redfield said. “I am, if anything I was disappoint­ed of through my time at CDC, was the inconsiste­ncy of messaging. It’s really important in public health, and [Marylander­s] are so fortunate with Governor Hogan, to have that public health message echoed by civic leaders. We stood for that and across the country, unfortunat­ely, there were a number of civic leaders that didn’t echo the public health message.”

Hogan defended Redfield, pointing to the federal government’s success in working with drug companies to develop and produce safe vaccines.

“He was on the Operation Warp Speed board that made these incredible accomplish­ments that are enabling us to save lives right now. Under the CDC guidance is what we followed throughout the entire pandemic, and the great advice that they promulgate­d,” Hogan said.

He added: “I’m not going to sit here and defend everything that the president said or did, or re-litigate the past, and I’m not sure Dr. Redfield wants to do that, either. But I don’t think most of that criticism was ever directed at him or any of his leadership of that agency.”

Hogan found support for his Redfield pick from one person who has been critical of the governor’s pandemic management: Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat who posted on Twitter: “This is a very positive developmen­t to bring additional expertise on board for Maryland.”

Hogan also announced that the state would open, by the end of March, its sixth mass vaccinatio­n site, located at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets in Western Maryland.

Maryland is operating or setting up sites in five geographic regions: Western Maryland; two in the Baltimore area; the Eastern Shore; the Washington, D.C., area; and Southern Maryland. Hogan said the state is discussing with interested counties the potential for standing up similar sites in their jurisdicti­ons.

More vaccinatio­n sites and an approximat­ely 50,000dose initial boost to the state’s vaccine supply from the newly approved Johnson & Johnson product come as it’s urgent for the state to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Three variant coronaviru­s strains have been identified in Maryland, and two have spread considerab­ly since being detected.

Hogan added that after the one-time influx of the singledose Johnson & Johnson immunizati­ons, federal officials have told him there will be an approximat­ely two-week hiatus before more doses can be sent to the states. The first 50,000 doses will be spread among various vaccine providers across the state, including local health department­s, hospitals and mass vaccinatio­n clinics.

Hogan said the state is improving its efforts to achieve equity in vaccine distributi­on. So far, white Marylander­s have proportion­ately gotten more vaccine doses than Black residents and other minorities who have disproport­ionately suffered with illness and death during the pandemic. The governor noted that the Baltimore Convention Center

Dear Amy: My husband of 13 years is having boundary issues with a colleague. They became close when he had a depressive episode last year and confided in her instead of me. He said a lot of things to her that made me uncomforta­ble, including comments about our relationsh­ip and our finances.

I read his messages and have proof. I confessed to him that I read his messages, and we talked about it. He said that he no longer considers her “a friend.”

I am still reading his messages because I don’t trust him, and today I read a reply from him to her where he said he would “love to see her.” He hasn’t told me about it. They aren’t friends? I don’t believe him.

We have a close and intimate partnershi­p otherwise, and I never make him feel unsafe with his issues.

I am sick of being lied to and don’t understand why he can’t just be open with me. We both have therapists but can’t afford therapy together. I feel like I’ve already done the nuclear option and now I don’t know what else to do. I also know what I am doing is very bad, but I can’t just stop. What now?

— Upset Wife

Dear Wife: Your husband isn’t the only member of your household who has boundary issues. Your own choice to continue to violate his privacy is leaping over an important personal boundary that is affecting your relationsh­ip. Stop it.

Yes, he erred when he confided in his friend at work about your relationsh­ip and private life. His choice to do that denotes the possible first stages of an “emotional affair,” fostering emotional intimacy with someone other than his spouse.

Not to excuse his choice, but you might ask yourself why your husband confided in someone else when he was going through a tough time.

You don’t mention what inspired you to monitor his communicat­ion in the first place, but you must explore how your behavior might be connected with his. You suggest that your relationsh­ip is otherwise great, but a next step might be for you to admit that — right now — it isn’t.

Your husband “can’t be honest” with you, and you can’t seem to be honest with him. You aren’t the bad guy here, but maybe he isn’t, either.

Honesty entails more than just admitting that you caught him doing something you don’t want him to do. Tell him that you would like to work as a vulnerable partner to rebuild trust — together.

You are each in therapy; you should definitely be in therapy together. Perhaps his therapist would agree to let you sit in for a session in order to communicat­e about this openly.

Dear Amy: I was lucky enough to meet my spouse on a dating site.

We’ve enjoyed 11 years together (married for eight), and we are still going strong, even as the pandemic rolls along and we are together 24/7.

Here are my tips for online dating, passed on to me by all my other friends who did it before me.

„ Don’t give them your address or phone number if you can avoid it until you meet in person.

„ Meet in public and tell them you have an event later, so you have an “out” if you need it.

„ You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.

„ Don’t give up! The right one is out there!

— Met my Match on OKC

Dear Met my Match: I appreciate your tips.

During my own phase of online matching, I reframed the experience by thinking of it as “practice.” This seemed to turn down the anxiety-volume enough for me to simply embrace meeting new people.

Dear Amy: I share your column regularly with my 11-year-old daughter.

She also happens to be a fashionist­a, and after reading the question from “Copied,” who was annoyed by her co-worker copying her outfits, my daughter suggested this solution: Why not do the nicest thing and offer to take this woman shopping?

Help her find and develop her own style. She is clearly trying to fit in and has not had any assistance. This way both women gain!

— Shopping in California

Dear Shopping: I’ve received a high volume of responses to this question — most of them agreeing with your daughter: This presents an opportunit­y to be nice.

 ?? ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICH­ENKO/AP ?? Alexei Navalny, shown gesturing Feb. 20 in court, has been sent to a penal colony.
ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICH­ENKO/AP Alexei Navalny, shown gesturing Feb. 20 in court, has been sent to a penal colony.
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