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World leaders react to reports of Putin critic Navalny’s death


Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a rally in support of political prisoners in Prospekt Sakharova Street in Moscow, Russia on September 29, 2019. 

Sefa Karacan | Anadolu | Getty Images

World leaders and the wife of prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny reacted with dismay and suspicion to reports of the Kremlin critic’s death in a Siberian penal colony.

Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s wife, was greeted on Friday with a standing ovation as she addressed the Munich Security Conference.

Composed but with tears in her eyes, Navalnaya told the room that Russian claims that her husband had collapsed and died were yet to be independently confirmed.

She said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies in the Kremlin should be held accountable for the crimes committed against her family and the country at large.

“If it is the true, I would like Putin and all his staff … I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our country, with my family, and with my husband,” she said.

“This regime and Vladimir Putin should be held personally responsible for all the atrocities they have committed in our country these past years,” she said.

President Joe Biden said “Putin is responsible” for Navalny’s reported death. “Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death… What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality,” Biden said.

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, attends the Munich Security Conference (MSC), on the day it was announced that Alexei Navalny is dead, by the prison service of the Yamalo-Nenets region where he had been serving his sentence, in Munich, Germany February 16, 2024. 

Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

Reports of Navalny’s death — less than six months after the demise of former Putin ally and Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin — sent reverberations around the high-level defense conference, and prompted reactions from political leaders around the world.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the response to Navalny’s reported death from Western leaders is “self-exposing” at a time when no forensic medical examination is yet available.

World leaders react

Russian media said, citing the prison service of the Yamalo-Nenets region where Navalny had been serving a lengthy sentence on what were widely considered to be politically motivated charges, that he had fallen ill and collapsed after a walk.

Navalny’s team said they had yet to receive confirmation of the death and questioned the veracity of the announcement.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris told the Munich Security Conference on Friday that Washington was working to confirm the “terrible” news.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks, during the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany February 18, 2023. 

Wolfgang Rattay | Reuters

“Whatever story they tell, let us be clear, Russia is responsible, and we will have more to say on this later,” she added.

NATO Secretary…



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World leaders react to reports of Putin critic Navalny’s death

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