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Moscow urges US restraint over Navalny’s death

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Picture: Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP / Taken on May 5, 2018 – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny addresses supporters during an unauthorized anti-Putin rally in May 2018, in Moscow, two days ahead of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a fourth Kremlin term. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died on February 16, 2024 at the Arctic prison colony where he was serving a 19-year-term, Russia’s federal penitentiary service said in a statement.

By Sputnik Staff

The US needs to show restraint in connection with the death of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and wait for the results of the medical examination, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday, following a prison statement announcing Nalvalny’s death.

“It is interesting why, for the White House and the State Department, the death of a Russian citizen in a Russian penal colony turned out to be much more important and seemed more terrible than the death of a US citizen, journalist Gonzalo Lira, tortured in a Ukrainian prison?

“Instead of indiscriminate accusations, it would be better to show restraint and wait for the official results of the medical examination,” the ministry said on Telegram on Friday.

Fifteen minutes after the opposition leader’s death was announced, a “stream of carbon-copy accusations started to pour in”, the ministry said.

Earlier in the day, the Russian prison service said that Navalny died in prison, adding that the causes of death were being investigated. Later, US Vice-President Kamala Harris claimed that Russia was responsible for the death of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Graphic: Graphic News Ltd / February 16, 2024 – Timeline. Imprisoned Russian opposition leader and vocal Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, has died in an Arctic penal colony aged 47.

“This is, of course, terrible news which we are working to confirm,” Harris said at the Munich Security Conference. “If confirmed, this would be a further sign of (Vladimir) Putin’s brutality. Whatever story they tell, let us be clear: Russia is responsible. And we will have more to say on this later.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also blamed Russia for the death of Navalny and said the US would consult with its allies about a possible response. “Russia is responsible for this. We’ll be talking to many other countries concerned about Alexei Navalny, especially if these reports bear out to be true,” Blinken said in remarks at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Paramedics attempted to resuscitate Navalny for more than 30 minutes, Russia’s Labytnangi City Hospital told Sputnik on Friday.

“The doctors who arrived at the scene continued the resuscitation measures that the colony’s doctors had already provided. And they tried for over 30 minutes. However, the patient died,” a hospital representative said.

The paramedics reached the prison in less than seven minutes, and the doctors got to the patient in two minutes, the representative added.

The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) is inspecting everything related to the death of Navalny and there is no need for additional instructions, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. The causes of the death should be established by doctors, he said.

FSIN has dispatched a commission to the prison in connection with Navalny’s sudden death. The Russian Investigative Committee’s office in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area has launched a procedural investigation.

The immediate reaction of Western leaders to Navalny’s death was “self-exposing”, as they had made their conclusions before a forensic examination was completed, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

The Public Monitoring Commission in Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area did not receive any complaints from Navalny, Danila Gontar, the head of the commission’s regional office, said.

The human rights ombudsman of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area, Andrey Nesteruk, also told Sputnik that Navalny and his representatives had not approached him with complaints about the conditions of detention in the colony.

On Thursday, Navalny participated in three court hearings by video-conference in the Kovrovskiy Court of the Vladimir Region and in two other court hearings in the Vladimir regional court, the courts told Sputnik.

“We had two court hearings yesterday. He (Navalny) did not complain about his well-being, he spoke actively and presented arguments in defence of his position,” the Vladimir Regional Court said. – Sputnik