Saturday, April 13

President Biden to meet with Alexei Navalny’s widow and daughter

President Joe Biden plans to meet with the widow of Alexei Navalny, Yulia Navalnaya, and their daughter, Dasha, in California on Thursday afternoon, less than a week after her husband died in a Russian prison, a person familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The meeting was not previously reported and didn’t appear on Biden’s official White House schedule. Navalny’s daughter is a student at Stanford University.

Earlier in the day, Navalnaya tweeted a photo of herself with her daughter saying she flew to be with her.

Biden has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “responsible” for Navalny’s death and plans to announce a major sanctions package Friday to hold Russia accountable.

After Russia’s prison service said last Friday that Navalny died in a Russian penal colony above the Arctic Circle, Navalnaya released a video address accusing the Kremlin of killing her husband and covering it up by not quickly releasing his body to his family.

“Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband,” the 47-year-old widow said in a lengthy video posted on YouTube before she met Monday with European Union foreign ministers in Brussels. Navalnaya said Russian authorities were waiting for traces of “yet another Putin’s Novichok” to leave his body — referring to the military nerve agent used to poison him in 2020.

Navalnaya promised to take over her late husband’s fight for a “free Russia.”

Biden has expressed exasperation with former President Donald Trump for failing to blame Putin for Navalny’s death.

At a fundraiser in San Francisco Thursday, Biden referred to Russia’s president while talking about climate change. “This is the last existential threat it is climate. We have a crazy SOB that guy, Putin, others. And we always have to be worried about a nuclear conflict. But the existential threat to humanity is climate,” he said.

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Biden has repeatedly argued that one of the ways the U.S. can stand up to Putin, especially as Russia continues its military offensive, is for Congress to pass emergency funding for Ukraine. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday that the death of Navalny, who he said had been “killed,” coupled with Russia’s capture of a town in eastern Ukraine over the weekend are more reasons why Congress must pass the aid bill.

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnya, said in a video statement Thursday that she was allowed access to her son’s body in a morgue but that her lawyer had not been able to come with her. She added that investigators claimed to know the cause of her son’s death but were “blackmailing” her by telling her that if she didn’t agree to a secret funeral, they would “do something with the body.”

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