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Biden meets with Alexey Navalny’s wife and daughter to express “heartfelt condolences”

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Washington — President Biden met with the wife and daughter of late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny in California on Thursday to express his “heartfelt condolences” over his death, the White House said.

“The President expressed his admiration for Aleksey Navalny’s extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption and for a free and democratic Russia in which the rule of law applies equally to everyone,” the White House said, using a different spelling of Navalny’s first name in a summary of the meeting with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya. “The President 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.”

The White House posted photos of the meeting on social media, showing the president embracing Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow. Yulia Navalnaya, who lives in exile from Russia, posted on Instagram earlier in the day that she was visiting her daughter, a student at Stanford University.

Speaking to reporters in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Biden said, “This morning I had the honor of meeting with Alexey Navalny’s wife and daughter. As to state the obvious, he was a man of incredible courage. And it’s amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that.”

The president also said his administration would “be announcing sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for [Navalny’s] death, tomorrow.”

CBS News has learned that the targets include companies, banks and individuals both inside and outside Russia.

According to Treasury Department officials, the U.S. on Friday will impose over 500 sanctions on Russia, its enablers, and its military war machine. This will be the largest set of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine, the officials told CBS News. The sanctions will be issued by the Treasury and State Departments.

Navalny was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent domestic opponent and critic, exposing corruption among the Russian elite and advocating for democratic reforms. Russian authorities announced his death last week, leading to an outpouring of grief around the world. Mr. Biden soon blamed his death on the Kremlin.

In the meeting with Navalny’s family, the president “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 summary said.

Navalny’s death remains shrouded in mystery. He had been detained since 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from an unsuccessful poisoning attempt. He was most recently held at a penal colony in Russia’s far north, where he died. Russian authorities have said the cause of his death is still unknown.

On Thursday, Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, said officials had allowed her to see his body but pressured her to agree to a quiet burial.

“They are blackmailing me, they are setting conditions where, when and how my son should be buried,” she said. “They want it to do it secretly without a mourning ceremony.”

Yulia Navalnaya accused the Russian authorities of killing her husband with a Soviet-era nerve agent and delaying the release of his body until traces of the poison had vanished. A Kremlin spokesman said the allegations were “absolutely unfounded, insolent accusations about the head of the Russian state.”

Bo Erickson and Nancy Cordes contributed reporting.



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