News

Foreign Secretary’s warning to Putin over Navalny death: Lord Cameron hints at fresh sanctions against Russia over ‘murder’ of jailed Kremlin critic as he vows to take ‘action’


Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has warned that Russia could face fresh sanctions as he vowed to take ‘action’ following the death of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Mr Navalny – one of the most prominent critics of Russian despot Vladimir Putin – died on Friday at the Polar Wolf penal colony in Kharp, about 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow, where he was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism.

The circumstances of Mr Navalny’s death remain unclear. Prison officials claim the 47-year-old ‘fell ill’ after a walk and ‘lost consciousness’ before dying. 

His mother was told that he was struck down by ‘sudden death syndrome’ but Mr Navalny’s team say: ‘Alexei didn’t die – he was murdered.’

Lord Cameron joined other G7 ministers at the Munich Security Conference in calling on Russia to ‘fully clarify’ how the jailed opposition leader died, amid mounting pressure on Western leaders to respond.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (pictured at his trial in 2017) died in prison on Friday

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (pictured at his trial in 2017) died in prison on Friday

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron (pictured at Munich Security Conference) has warned that Russia could now face fresh sanctions

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron (pictured at Munich Security Conference) has warned that Russia could now face fresh sanctions

Mr Navalny was one of the most prominent critics of Vladimir Putin (pictured) who launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago

Mr Navalny was one of the most prominent critics of Vladimir Putin (pictured) who launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago

According to the Times, the Foreign Secretary used the German gathering to repeat the UK’s call for countries to seize Russian central bank assets currently held in the West as one way of financing the reconstruction of Ukraine.

It comes as the second anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches, marked by confirmation that Putin’s forces have taken complete control of the frontline city of Avdiivka.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined Western leaders in putting the blame on Moscow for the death of Mr Navalny, as he pointed to the demise of the Putin critic as another reminder of the importance of defeating Russia.

‘There should be consequences,’ the Foreign Secretary told broadcasters on Saturday.

‘When appalling human rights outrages like this take place, what we do is we look at whether there are individual people that are responsible and whether there are individual measures and actions we can take.

‘We don’t announce them in advance, so I can’t say anymore than that.

‘But that is what we will be looking at.’

It comes as Mr Navalny’s spokesperson confirmed that the Russian opposition leader died at a remote Arctic penal colony and said he was ‘murdered’.

But it remains unclear where his body is. 

Mr Navalny and his widow, Yulia Navalnaya, (pictured) have two children together

Mr Navalny and his widow, Yulia Navalnaya, (pictured) have two children together

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at a press conference hours after news of her husband's death emerged

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at a press conference hours after news of her husband’s death emerged

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and lawyer Vasily Dubkov picturedon Saturday

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and lawyer Vasily Dubkov picturedon Saturday

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Mr Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Mr Navalny’s mother had been told by prison officials that her son had perished due to ‘sudden death syndrome’ when she arrived at his former penal colony on Saturday with one of the politician’s lawyers.

When a lawyer and Mr Navalny’s mother visited the mortuary in Salekhard, it was closed, Mr Navalny’s team wrote on its Telegram channel.

The lawyer called the mortuary and was told that Mr Navalny’s body is not there, his team said.

‘We demand that Alexei Navalny’s body be handed over to his family immediately,’ Ms Yarmysh wrote on X. In a later update, she claimed Russian investigators said Mr Navalny’s body will not be returned to them until their probe is complete. 

The Foreign Office said on Friday that it would summon an official from the Russian embassy to make clear it held Russian authorities ‘fully responsible’. The Kremlin has denied responsibility and yesterday said it was unacceptable for Britain to interfere in its internal affairs. 

Last night, it was claimed that Russian security officers visited Mr Navalny’s prison just a few days before he died.

Two days before he died from ‘sudden death syndrome’ on Friday, two officers from Russian intelligence service FSB, are alleged to have disconnected some of the CCTV and recording devices at the Polar Wolf Arctic prison.

According to a report on the human rights campaign group website gulagu.net, the visit was mentioned in a report by a branch of the Federal Penitentiary Service.

Although the website’s information is not always proven to be correct, it was the first to expose Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin for recruiting from Russian jails.

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is dead, the prison service of the Yamalo-Nenets region where he had been serving his sentence said

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is dead, the prison service of the Yamalo-Nenets region where he had been serving his sentence said

Russian investigators are alleged to have told the opposition leader’s mother as she visited the brutal IK-3 Polar Wolf penal colony where he was being held.

Lyudmila Navalnaya was seen on Saturday travelling to the colony in northern Russia, where she was told her son died after returning from a walk at 2.17pm local time on Friday.

His press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, claimed in a video that Navalnaya had been murdered.

Ms Yarmysh said: ‘The whole world knows that the president of Russia personally gave this order [for his murder] just as it knows that Alexei was never afraid of him, never stayed silent, and that he never stopped acting. We must not give up. This is what Alexei urged us to do,’ The Times reported.

The shock death has sparked a wave of vigils and protests across Russia, prompting police to crack down with force and make hundreds of arrests since Friday.

‘It’s obvious that the killers want to cover their tracks and are therefore not handing over Alexei’s body, hiding it even from his mother,’ his team said in a post on Telegram.

Tributes are laid as people demonstrate outside the Russian embassy, in Denmark

Tributes are laid as people demonstrate outside the Russian embassy, in Denmark

Police officers detain a woman during a gathering in memory of Navalny in Moscow

Police officers detain a woman during a gathering in memory of Navalny in Moscow

People light candles during a vigil for the critic in Germany

People light candles during a vigil for the critic in Germany

People leave flowers and candles as they gather for a demonstration in Amsterdam

People leave flowers and candles as they gather for a demonstration in Amsterdam

A woman lays a flower in front of the Russian Embassy in Denmark

A woman lays a flower in front of the Russian Embassy in Denmark

Mr Navalny and his widow, Yulia Navalnaya, have two children together, Daria, 23, and Zakhar, 15.

She condemned Putin’s regime in a conference on Friday, swearing he will ‘bear responsibility’ for what happened.

Mr Navalny was last seen via video link during a court hearing on Thursday.

Dressed in black prison uniform, he appeared to be in good spirits – his trademark humour back on show.

‘Your Honour, I will send you my personal account number so that you can use your huge salary as a federal judge to ”warm up” my personal account, because I am running out of money,’ he said.

State media reported he raised no health complaints during the session.

His mother said she had seen her son in the prison colony on Monday. At the time, she said: ‘He was alive, healthy, cheerful.’

The opposition leader had only recently been moved from his former prison in the Vladimir region of central Russia to a grisly ‘special regime’ penal colony above the Arctic Circle.

His allies, a brave minority in Russia fighting corruption, said at the time they feared for his life after he ‘disappeared’ in December to travel to the remote region notorious for its long and severe winters – just months before the closely-watched Russian presidential elections next month.

Zelensky, who is struggling to convince Republican lawmakers in Washington to facilitate a major funding package for Kyiv, said Putin ‘kills whoever he wants’.

‘After the murder of Alexei Navalny, it’s absurd to perceive Putin as a supposedly legitimate head of a Russian state and he is a thug who maintains power through corruption and violence,’ he said.

He explicitly warned attendees in Munich that a lack of long-range weapons is limiting the country’s fightback.

Mr Navalny was targeted by Russian FSB agents with nerve agent Novichok on a flight to Moscow in 2020. He was rushed to a German hospital where medics saved his life but was arrested when he returned to Russia in January 2021.

He has since been held in the brutal penal colony, where he spent 308 days in solitary confinement and recently had his sentence increased to 19 years for ‘extremism’.



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button