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U.S. President Joe Biden meets Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya, promises sanctions on Putin

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden met with Alexei Navalny's wife and daughter, Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya, to personally offer condolences after the opposition politician's death in a Russian prison on February 16.

Biden posted two photographs of the meeting on X (formerly Twitter), accompanied by the following message:

“Today, I met with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya – Aleksey Navalny's loved ones – to express my condolences for their devastating loss.
Aleksey's legacy of courage will live on in Yulia and Dasha, and the countless people across Russia fighting for democracy and human rights.”

“He was a man of incredible courage and it's amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that,” Reuters quoted Biden as saying after the meeting.

“I know that we're going to be announcing the sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow.”

Delivering remarks at the White House last Friday — after Russian prison officials announced that Navalny had died — Biden said Vladimir Putin was directly responsible for the opposition politician's death:

“Navalny stood up to the corruption, the violence, and all the bad things the Putin government was doing. In response, Putin had him poisoned, had him arrested, had him prosecuted for fabricated crimes, he sent him to prison, he was held in isolation — all that didn’t stop him from calling out Putin’s lies. Even in prison he was a powerful voice for the truth, which was kind of amazing if you think about it.
He could have lived safely in exile after the assassination attempt in 2020 — which nearly killed him, I might add. Instead, he returned to Russia! [He] returned to Russia knowing he could have been imprisoned or even killed if he continued his work. But he did it anyway because he believed so deeply in his country, in Russia.
[...] 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.”

Yulia Navalnaya arrived in the U.S. to see her daughter on February 21.

On the same day as Biden's meeting with Yulia and Dasha, Navalny's mother Lyudmila was allowed to see her dead son's body at the morgue in Salekhard for the first time. She was then threatened by a Russian Investigative Committee officer who refused to release her son's body to his family for burial unless she agreed to a secret funeral.

“I'm recording this video because they started threatening me. Looking me in the eyes, they say that if I don't agree to a secret funeral, they will do something with my son's body. [The] investigator Varapayev openly told me: ‘Time’s not on your side, the corpses are decomposing.’ I don't want special conditions. I just want everything to be done according to the law. I demand that my son's body be given to me immediately,” said Lyudmila Navalnaya in a video shared on Alexei Navalny's YouTube channel.

Several days ago, Lyudmila Navalnaya had recorded an appeal to President Vladimir Putin, demanding that the relevant authorities release Navalny's body to his family.

A medical death certificate shown to Alexei Navalny's mother listed the opposition politician's cause of death as “natural,” as per a tweet from Navalny's press secretary Kira Yarmysh.

In the first minutes after Navalny's death was reported, the Telegram channel Baza and the state-owned Russian propaganda outlet RT attributed Navalny's death to a “detached blood clot.” RT cited an unnamed source.

Medical professionals immediately had questions about the diagnosis. ER doctor Alexander Polupan, who was part of the team that resuscitated Navalny in Omsk after he was poisoned in August 2020, told The Insider:

“They couldn’t have named this diagnosis as the cause of his death. They could only have diagnosed him with ‘sudden cardiac arrest’ and listed its possible causes without jumping to conclusions. A detached blood clot is a lay term; the proper medical term is pulmonary embolism. Diagnosing it would have required lifetime imaging, which was never done, as far as we know, because there was no equipment onsite, or the results of an autopsy. At the moment, the cause of death has not been confirmed and is therefore ineligible.”

The Insider examined the versions and narratives of Navalny's death being spread by the Kremlin in a separate piece dated February 21.

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