Biden: Putin “responsible” for Navalny's death

Navalny's team has repeatedly accused the Kremlin of doing everything in its power to eliminate Putin's most important enemy. The warnings went unheeded and, according to prison authorities, Navalny died last year in a penal colony in the Arctic region where he was transferred. Navalny's mother said she visited her son at the prison camp on Monday. “He was alive, healthy and fun-loving,” she told Novaya Gazeta, the Kremlin's main newspaper.

US President Joe Biden directly blamed Putin. In Washington, Biden said news of his death did not surprise him, but angered him. “Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny's death,” Biden said, and he acknowledged that the United States still does not know the details of the death. “What happened to Navalny is further proof of Putin's brutality. Let no one delude themselves.

Reuters/Leah Millis

Biden directly blames Putin for Navalny's death

America “Exploring Options”

Navalny stood boldly against the corruption, violence “and all the bad things” perpetrated by Putin's government. Given the potential reaction from the US government, Biden said he was exploring “options” but did not provide details.

It is obvious that Navalny was assassinated by Putin, as was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a journalistic appearance in Berlin. Putin doesn't care who dies, he only cares about staying in power. “It seems clear to me: He was killed. Like thousands of others who were tortured and killed by this one.” The Russian president must “pay for his crimes.”

Deeply shocked by Navalny's death

The news of the death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny came as a shock to many on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg made it clear that Russia must now answer questions about the exact circumstances.

“The EU considers the Russian regime solely responsible”

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responded “deeply disturbed and saddened”: “A dark reminder of what Putin and his regime are all about,” von der Leyen wrote on X (Twitter). The Kremlin leader fears nothing but the opposition of his own people.

Navalny “made the ultimate sacrifice for his ideals,” EU Council President Charles Michel told X on Friday. “The European Union considers the Russian regime solely responsible for this tragic death,” it said. “Fighters die,” Michael said, “but the fight for freedom never ends.”

International reactions to Navalny's death

The death of Kremlin critic Navalny has sparked outrage and recrimination in the West.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was “deeply hurt and disturbed” and sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin. “What we've seen is that Russia has become an increasingly authoritarian power and has been suppressing dissent for years,” he said. That is why Russia must now answer all the questions asked.

The UN human rights office called on Moscow to release all those persecuted by the government. A spokesman for High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Durk said they were “horrified” by Navalny's death. From the office's perspective, every time an inmate dies, the respective state can assume responsibility. “This liability can only be discharged through an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation by an independent body,” it said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was shocked and called for a “comprehensive, credible and transparent investigation” into the circumstances.

People remember Alexei Navalny in St. Petersburg

Reuters

People remember Navalny at a memorial to victims of political repression in St. Petersburg

Russian embassy protest against van der Bellen

Federal President Alexander van der Bellen responded that he was “shocked” as he wrote in X. Putin “and his murderous regime are responsible for this,” said van der Bellen, who also offered his condolences to Navalny's relatives. Vice Chancellor Werner Koegler (Greens) made similar statements, calling for an “international inquiry” into the circumstances of the death.

Van der Bellen's reaction elicited a response from the Russian embassy: “The embassy has registered a firm protest with the Austrian Foreign Ministry regarding the offensive statements made by Federal President Alexander van der Bellen about Russia and the Russian leadership,” X said. A verbal note indicated that such outrageous rhetoric would not be tolerated.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) hailed Navalny, who died as a political prisoner on Friday, as a “champion of a more open and democratic Russia” and called for a “thorough, independent investigation into the circumstances of his death”.

Demonstrators gathered in front of Russian embassies on Friday in several European cities, including Vienna, after news of Navalny's death emerged. They chanted slogans like “Putin is a murderer”. A police spokesman said more than 1,000 people gathered in Berlin.

Alexei Navalny with daughter Dasha, son Jagar and wife Yulia

APA/AFP/Vasily Maximov

Navalny leaves behind his wife and fellow campaigner Julia and two children

“Navalny was a prisoner of conscience who was persecuted by the Russian authorities because of his peaceful political activism,” said Shora Hashemi, executive director of Amnesty International Austria.

Navalny “paid his life”

French President Emmanuel Macron responded angrily to X. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Navalny's death was heartbreaking. Now we know what kind of regime is in power in Moscow. Russia is “no longer a democracy”.

Latvia's head of state made it clear: “Even if you think of Alexei Navalny as a politician, he was brutally murdered by the Kremlin,” Ringevics said.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote on X: “Alexey, we will never forget you. We will never forgive them.” The Polish Foreign Ministry said the Russian government was fully responsible for Navalny's death.

Nadezhdin pays tribute to Navalny

Russian opposition politician Boris Nadezhdin, who was recently banned from running for president, paid tribute to Navalny. He was “one of the most talented and courageous people in Russia,” the telegram said.

Television reference

ORF2 changes its program. ZIB2 starts at 10:15 PM and extends for 15 minutes. This will be followed by Canadian director Daniel Rohr's documentary “Navalni” at 11 p.m. The documentary can now also be viewed on the ORF ON and TVthek apps. Navalny's death and its consequences will be discussed from 8:15 pm on “Zur Sache” on ORF III.

Russia: Allegations “will reveal themselves”

The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the allegations as “self-exposing”. While forensic medical results on Navalny's death are not yet available, the West has already drawn its own conclusions, Foreign Office spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a Telegram. The president's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Western politicians' comments were “absolutely hysterical”.

For his part, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin turned the tables. Western politicians “mostly make bad decisions and cling to their positions to benefit from his death,” he said in a telegram, without elaborating on the accusation. He further accused the West of wanting to “destroy” Russia.

Navalny himself once told CNN: “If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong. We have to use this power and not give it up,” Navalny said. “We don't realize how strong we really are.”

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