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HomeGeneralBiden Blames Putin for Alexei Navalny’s Death, Claims He “Is Responsible”

Biden Blames Putin for Alexei Navalny’s Death, Claims He “Is Responsible”

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President Joe Biden
Source: Al Jazeera

The Office of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia announced on Friday that Alexei Navalny, the imprisoned Russian opposition leader and vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died in prison at the age of 47.

“On Feb. 16, 2024, in correctional colony No 3, convict A A Navalny felt unwell after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness,” Sky News’ English translation of the Russian statement read.

“The institution’s medical workers immediately arrived and an emergency medical team was called. All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, but they did not yield positive results. Emergency medical doctors confirmed the death of the convict.”

Following Alexei Navalny’s sudden death, staff were dispatched to the institution, as stated by the prison service on its website. TIME has contacted the press departments of the Russian government, the prison service, and the foreign ministry for additional details.

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Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, revealed on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday that Navalny’s death happened on February 16 at 2:17 p.m., based on an official message from Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya. Additionally, Navalny’s lawyer traveled to Harp (Kharp), a town in Russia, to conduct an investigation.

After the reports of Navalny’s death, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced on its Telegram channel that it had initiated a procedural investigation into the matter.

Yarmysh stated on Saturday that Navalny’s lawyers were informed that an investigation had been completed and no criminal activity was found, but she alleged that they “literally lie every time.”

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Navalny’s family had requested the return of his body, but according to Yarmysh, they were informed that it would not occur until the investigation was finished. The current status of this transfer remains unclear.

Navalny had previously survived what he claimed was an assassination attempt involving nerve agent poisoning, which he attributed to the Russian government. Russia denied any involvement in the incident. 

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Despite his recovery in Germany, Navalny was arrested upon returning to Russia in 2021 and has been incarcerated since then. He was serving a 30-year sentence on extremism charges. In 2023, he disappeared for three weeks, raising concerns about his safety, before being found in a penal colony in the Arctic Circle.

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Independent Russian news outlet SOTA Vision shared a video on Telegram showing Navalny appearing remotely in court on Thursday. In live-streamed remarks on Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden expressed a mix of emotions, stating that he was “both not surprised and outraged by the news.”

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He praised Navalny for his courage in returning to Russia after surviving a nerve agent poisoning, despite the option to remain in safety abroad.

“He bravely stood up to the corruption, the violence, and all the bad things that the Putin government was doing,” the President added. “In response, Putin had him poisoned, he had him arrested, he had him prosecuted for fabricated crimes.”

Biden said that “Russian authorities are going to tell their own story. Make no mistake, Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality. No one should be fooled—not in Russia, not at home, not anywhere in the world.”

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