Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison

The political prisoner died in the Arctic region of Yamalo-Nenets, where he was serving his sentence after being exiled by the Putin regime.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died in the prison in the Arctic Circle where he was exiled by the Putin regime, according to Russian news reports.

Considered President Vladimir Putin's most vocal critic in the last decade, Navalny was serving a 19-year prison sentence for politically motivated crimes.

At the end of last year he was transferred to an Arctic penal colony, considered one of the harshest prisons in Russia, located in the town of Kharp.

The Yamalo-Nenets district prison service said it was looking to establish the cause of his death, as reported by Russia's state-owned TASS News Agency. The penitentiary services of the Yamal Arctic region issued a statement noting that "On 02/16/2024, in correctional colony No. 3, convicted Navalny A.A. felt ill after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness. The medical staff of the institution immediately arrived, and an ambulance team was called. All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, which did not give positive results. The doctors of the emergency medical service pronounced the convict dead," the release said.

The Kremlin reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of the death of his main detractor, noting that the penitentiary services were engaged in "verifications" and "clarification" of the cause of death without providing any new details.

Navalny, 47, was last seen only a day ago, looking well and laughing during a court video hearing.

International community holds the Russian regime solely responsible

The European Union considers that the Russian regime is solely responsible for the death in prison of the opposition leader. This is the opinion of European Council President Charles Michel, who remembered Navalny as someone who "fought for the values of freedom and democracy." 

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, expressed that she was "horrified" at the loss of a "fighter."

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné regretted that Alexei Navalni "paid with his life for his resistance to a system of oppression" in Russia.

Zelensky: 'It's clear he was killed by Putin'

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was "deeply saddened and disturbed" by the news. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "it's clear" Putin was directly behind Navalny's death. Zelensky said his Russian counterpart should be "held accountable for his crimes."

"It’s clear he was killed by Putin, like thousands of others who were tortured because of this one creature. Putin doesn’t care who dies, as long as he maintains his position," Zelensky said at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

Biden: 'Devastating for Russia' if Navalny died

It should be recalled that President Joe Biden noted in 2021, after a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, that the consequences would be "devastating for Russia" in the event of the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Pending a new statement from Biden, the administration's response came from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who maintained simply that Russia is "responsible" for Navalny's death.

The White House also commented on Navalni's death, noting that, if confirmed, it would be a "terrible tragedy."

Speaking on NPR, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also added the Kremlin's "long and sordid" history of harming its opponents "raises real and obvious questions about what happened here."

Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, said Navalny's death, if confirmed, would be "yet another sign of Putin's brutality" and that "whatever story they tell, let's be clear, Russia is responsible."

Navalny's wife: 'Putin and his friends should know that they will be responsible for what they have done to the country and my family'

It so happens that Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, is also present at the Munich Security Conference. After the news of her husband's death, Navalnaya took the floor after Kamala Harris to remind attendees, "We cannot believe Putin, they always lie," She continued: "If this is true, then Putin and his friends should know that they will be responsible for what they have done to the country and my family. And that day will come soon."