Biden blames Putin after news of Navalny’s death in prison: Live News

Biden blames Putin after news of Navalny’s death in prison: Live News

This was not the speech she expected to give, at least not that day. Yulia Navalnaya had come to a gathering of world leaders in Munich to urge them to remember her imprisoned husband and her troubled country.

And then, just as the conference opened Friday morning, Russian state media announced that her husband, the crusader dissident and rebel Aleksei A. Navalny, had died in one of President Vladimir V’s prisons. Poutine.

By his own admission, his first thought was to fly away, to join his adult children in privately mourning a man who had already survived a horrific poisoning and years behind bars. But before she did, she decided she needed to speak out. Because he would have wanted to.

Ms. Navalnaya stunned presidents, prime ministers, diplomats and generals at the Munich Security Conference when she entered the room on Friday afternoon, took the stage and unequivocally condemned Mr. Putin, vowing that he and his entourage would be brought to justice. to justice. His dramatic appearance electrified a conference already consumed by the threat posed by a revanchist Russia.

“I don’t know whether or not to believe the news, the terrible news that we’re only getting from government sources in Russia,” she told a high-profile audience, who hung on her every word . “We cannot believe Putin and his government. They always lie.

“But if this is true,” she continued in Russian, “I want Putin and everyone around him, Putin’s friends, his government, to know that they will bear responsibility for what they have done to our country, to my family.” and to my husband. And that day will come very soon.

“And I want to call on the global community,” she continued, “everyone in this room and people around the world to come together to defeat this evil, to defeat this horrible regime that is currently in Russia. »

Ms. Navalnaya spoke clearly and calmly, without notes but with remarkable composure, her face etched with obvious pain. Standing at the lectern, she clasped her hands in front of her and looked straight ahead, as if she wanted to concentrate on her message. She was wearing the professional pantsuit she had brought for what she thought would be a few days of lobbying, her hair pulled back and her makeup perfect. She seemed determined not to show any weakness.

She only spoke for two minutes, but it captivated the audience, which included Vice President Kamala Harris seated in the front row and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in the balcony. The crowd rose to its feet to give him a moving ovation, and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker, extended her hand as Ms. Navalnaya left the stage to embrace him as two senators looked on.

“On what must have been the worst day of her life, she was so strong and it reminds us that Russians who believe in freedom will continue to fight as long as it takes to hold Putin accountable for his barbaric crimes.” , Michael A. McFaul. , a former ambassador to Russia, said of Ms Navalnaya after her speech.

In the annals of international meetings, it would be difficult to remember a more fascinating moment, when careful choreography and scripted speeches laden with diplomatic jargon fall to the wayside as questions of life and death arise from so personal way. Leaders gathered in Munich were already wondering what to do about Russia, but the news added new urgency to the conversations.

A makeshift memorial for Alexei Navalny outside the Russian embassy in Berlin on Friday. The photo caption in the center reads in German: “Assassinated by Tsar Putin.”Credit…John MacDougall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ms. Harris had come to deliver a speech on the dangers of indulgence toward Russia at a time when House Republicans are blocking aid to Ukraine and former President Donald J. Trump boasts that he ” would encourage” Russia to attack NATO allies who do so. don’t spend enough on their own military.

In the minutes before her speech, she and her team heard the news from Mr. Navalny, rushed to learn what they could and quickly updated her text to reflect her outrage.

“If confirmed, it would be another sign of Putin’s brutality,” she said at the conference. taken up by President Biden in Washington. “Whatever story they tell, let’s be clear: Russia is responsible. »

She then delivered the message she hoped to convey, that the United States remains committed to its allies and to American leadership around the world. Without naming him, she lambasted Mr. Trump for seeking “to isolate us from the world,” “embracing dictators and adopting their repressive tactics” and “abandoning our commitments to our allies.”

“Let me be clear,” she said. “This worldview is dangerous, destabilizing and, indeed, short-sighted. This vision would weaken America, undermine global stability, and undermine global prosperity. »

Subsequently, Ms. Harris and Mr. Blinken each met separately with Ms. Navalnaya to express their condolences and commitment.

Ms. Navalnaya had come to Munich with Leonid Volkov, her husband’s longtime chief of staff, to keep world leaders focused on her husband’s case and Mr. Putin’s government’s crackdown on dissent. On Thursday evening, she mingled with conference attendees, saw them at dinner, and described how her husband’s living conditions had worsened since they moved him to another Arctic prison .

“He had virtually no contact with other people,” Mr. McFaul told her. “His outdoor walking area was actually just another cell adjacent to him, with no roof. They severely limited what he could read and broadcast Putin’s speeches on a radio channel that had only one channel. It felt like horrible torture.

Over the years, many Russians hoped that Ms. Navalnaya could become an alternative opposition figurehead. Although she fiercely defends her husband and criticizes the many forms of oppression he has faced, she has never ventured directly into opposition politics – and has rarely stood on a podium as she did in Munich.

During Mr Navalny’s stay in Germany, where he was treated after his 2020 poisoning, she remained private, posting only occasional photos of the two of them together during his treatment and recovery, but never speaking out publicly.

She became familiar to tens of millions of people around the world last year, however, when she appeared at the Academy Awards, where the documentary “Navalny” won an Oscar. In an interview afterwards with Der Spiegelthe German media outlet, she expressed concern for her husband’s health in prison and lamented that she would never be able to see him in person again.

“We all understand that it is Putin personally who is keeping Alexei in prison,” she said then, “and as long as he remains in power, it is difficult to imagine Alexei being released.”

Mr. Navalny had continued to post on social media from prison, forwarding messages to his visiting lawyers. His most recent Instagram post It was Wednesday – Valentine’s Day – and it was a message for Yulia: We may be separated by “blue blizzards and thousands of miles,” he wrote, “but I feel that you You are close to me every second, and I continue to love you even more.”

Anton Troianovsky And Melissa Eddy reports contributed.

Avatar photo

Eric D. Eilerman

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read also x