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US President Biden condemns ‘Putin and his thugs’ for Alexei Navalny’s death

Biden

WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 17: President Joe Biden blamed President Vladimir Putin of Russia personally Friday for the reported death of imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and cited the case in pressing House Republicans to approve military aid to Ukraine in its war with Moscow.
But while he once threatened to impose “devastating” consequences on Putin if Navalny died in prison, the President conceded that there was not much more he could do after the sanctions and other actions taken in the last two years in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death”, Biden said in a televised statement from the White House. “Putin is responsible. 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.”
Asked if Navalny had been assassinated, Biden said the United States did not have a full understanding of the circumstances. “The answer is, we don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.”
It was not clear exactly what had happened to Navalny, but no one in the Biden administration was taking seriously the official explanation that he simply had lost consciousness and died after taking a walk at his Arctic prison. If he was killed, US officials will have to consider what that says about Putin at this moment. With events seemingly going his way in Washington lately, some analysts said, Putin may have felt more impunity to act against his most prominent internal challenger.
Nearly 3 years ago, Biden said he had warned Putin during a meeting in Geneva not to harm Navalny while he was in prison. “I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia”, Biden told reporters following the meeting in 2021.
But the President conceded Friday that it would be hard to deliver those “devastating” consequences because in the years since, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had prompted the United States and the West to impose broad sanctions and other penalties on Moscow. Nonetheless, Biden said, “we’re contemplating what else can be done.” (NYTNS)

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