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Biden Meets With Navalny's Widow, Daughter Behind Closed Doors, White House Says

23.02.2024 00:42

US president 'emphasized that Aleksey’s legacy will carry on through people across Russia and around the world mourning his loss'

US President Joe Biden assured Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny's widow and daughter Thursday that the US will roll out "major" new sanctions against Moscow this week in retaliation for his death.

Biden met in San Francisco, California with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya "to express his heartfelt condolences for their terrible loss," the White House said in a statement.

During the closed-door meeting, Biden "emphasized that Aleksey's legacy will carry on through people across Russia and around the world mourning his loss and fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights."

"He affirmed that his Administration will announce major new sanctions against Russia tomorrow in response to Aleksey's death, Russia's repression and aggression, and its brutal and illegal war in Ukraine," the White House added.

It used an alternative spelling for "Alexey." The new sanctions on Moscow will be announced Friday. Navalny died in a Russian Arctic penal colony last week. The circumstances of his death remain unclear.

Biden has laid blame squarely with President Vladimir Putin, saying last week that the death is "proof" of the Russian president's "brutality."

Lyudmila Navalnaya, Navalny's mother, said in a video released earlier Thursday that she was able to view her son's body at a morgue, but said Russian authorities are blocking its transfer until the family agrees to bury him behind closed doors in what she described as an act of "blackmail" at the order of the Kremlin or other authorities.

"They want it to be done secretly, without a farewell. They want to bring me to the outskirts of the cemetery, to a fresh grave and say, 'Here lies your son,'" she said in reference to Navalny's funeral.

"I don't agree with that. I want you, who cared about Alexey, and for whom his death was a personal tragedy, to have an opportunity to say goodbye to him."

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the US cannot confirm the "reports of blackmail" alleged by Navalny's mother, but decried the situation.

"It's not enough that she gets to see the body of her son. She should be able to collect the body of her son so that she can properly memorialize her son, and her son's bravery and courage and service, and do all the things that any mother would want to do for a son lost in such a tragic way," he said.

"The Russians need to give her back her son, and they need to answer for what befell Mr. Navalny, and acknowledge that they, in fact, are responsible for his demise," he added. -

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