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Business News/ News / World/  Joe Biden meets Alexei Navalny’s widow, daughter, says, ‘We are going to be announcing sanctions against Putin’
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Joe Biden meets Alexei Navalny’s widow, daughter, says, ‘We are going to be announcing sanctions against Putin’

US President Biden met with Alexei Navalny's widow and daughter in San Francisco, expressing condolences and admiration for his courage. Biden vowed to announce sanctions against Putin for Navalny's death, highlighting differences with Trump.

In this photo courtesy of The White House, obtained on February 22, 2024, US President Joe Biden (C) meets with Yulia Navalnaya (R), widow of Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died last week in a Russian prison, and daughter Dasha Navalnaya (L) in San Francisco, California. (Photo by HANDOUT / WHITE HOUSE / AFP) (AFP)Premium
In this photo courtesy of The White House, obtained on February 22, 2024, US President Joe Biden (C) meets with Yulia Navalnaya (R), widow of Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died last week in a Russian prison, and daughter Dasha Navalnaya (L) in San Francisco, California. (Photo by HANDOUT / WHITE HOUSE / AFP) (AFP)

US President Joe Biden met with the widow and daughter of opposition leader Alexey Navalny less than a week after his death in prison, and vowed to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin in response.

The meeting, which took place in San Francisco, gave Biden a chance to express condolences as well as admiration for Navalny’s “extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption and for a free and democratic Russia," the White House said in a statement.

Biden’s meeting with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya did not appear on his public schedule for Thursday. The president is in California to raise money for his reelection campaign. Dasha Navalnaya studies at Stanford University.

“To state the obvious, he was a man of incredible courage," Biden told reporters after the meeting. “It’s amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that."

“We’re going to be announcing sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow," Biden said.

The president had previously said the US would announce sanctions on Friday meant to coincide with the two-year mark of the war in Ukraine and punish the Kremlin for Navalny’s death. Russia, and Putin himself, are already heavily sanctioned by the US and other European powers, meaning the new measures will be largely symbolic.

Trump Flashpoint

The meeting highlighted the deep divisions between Biden and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump over how to handle Putin’s mounting aggression as the war in Ukraine drags on.

Trump has avoided condemning Putin for Navalny’s death and likened the dissident’s plight to the four criminal cases he faces in the US. Those comments came on the heels of the former president’s suggestion that he would let Moscow attack NATO allies who do not meet defense-spending targets.

The Republican’s statements have drawn the ire of Biden. The president on Wednesday called Putin a “crazy SOB" and swiped at Trump for comparing himself to Navalny.

“It astounds me the things that are being said," Biden said at a fundraiser. “I mean, if I stood here 10, 15 years ago and said any of this, you’d all think I should be committed."

The conflict has amplified Biden’s efforts to use congressional Republicans’ decision to kill a fresh Ukraine aid package at the urging of Trump against his rival on the campaign trail.

Family Matters

Navalny’s widow and mother meanwhile have emerged to take up his anti-Putin cause.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the opposition leader’s mother, accused Russian authorities of refusing to hand over his body, as required by law, unless she agrees to his burial being conducted in secret.

“They want to bring me to a fresh grave on the outskirts of a cemetery and say: ‘Your son lies here.’ I do not agree with this," she said in a video address posted after she was allowed to view Navalny’s body.

Yulia Navalnaya addressed the Munich Security Conference last week shortly after learning of her husband’s death.

“I do not know whether or not to believe this terrible news," she said, after a standing ovation from the audience. “This regime and Vladimir Putin must bear personal responsibility for all those horrible things which they do to my country, our country."

Biden said Thursday that Navalny’s wife “is going to continue to fight."

US Actions

Ahead of the new US sanctions, the Justice Department took action Thursday against several pro-Russian oligarchs over what it said was their efforts to evade existing US sanctions by maintaining and, in some cases, improving super-yachts and expensive real estate in competitive markets such as Aspen, Colorado.

The charges, announced by the department’s KleptoCapture Task Force, were tied to the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Since the invasion, the task force “obtained court orders for the restraint, seizure, and forfeiture of nearly $700 million in assets from Russian enablers and charged more than 70 individuals," said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Charges were unveiled in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, DC.

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Published: 23 Feb 2024, 07:13 AM IST
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