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Russia will not hand over Alexei Navalny’s body for 14 days until ‘chemical examinations are complete’, his team reveals after widow claimed he had been poisoned by Novichok


Russian investigators will not hand over the body of dead Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny for 14 days, his team have revealed, after his widow claimed he had been poisoned by Novichok. 

Yulia Navalnaya has accused the Russian authorities of hiding Navalny’s body in order to wait for traces of the nerve agent to disappear.

And today, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said that Navalny’s body would not be given to his mother for 14 days while a chemical examination takes place.

Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said the Investigative Committee, the country’s top criminal investigation agency, informed Lyudmila Navalnaya that the official probe into the death had been extended. 

‘They lie, buy time for themselves and do not even hide it,’ Yarmysh posted on X.

Russian investigators will not hand over the body of dead Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny for 14 days, his team have revealed

Russian investigators will not hand over the body of dead Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny for 14 days, his team have revealed

Vladimir Putin has been accused of orchestrating Alexei Navalny's death

Vladimir Putin has been accused of orchestrating Alexei Navalny’s death

Yulia Navalnaya has accused the Russian authorities of hiding Navalny's body in order to wait for traces of the nerve agent to disappear

Yulia Navalnaya has accused the Russian authorities of hiding Navalny’s body in order to wait for traces of the nerve agent to disappear

It comes after Navalnaya met with EU chiefs in Brussels today hours after releasing a video in which she blamed Vladimir Putin for her husband’s death in prison and accused the Kremlin of hiding his body.

Yulia Navalnaya addressed foreign ministers from the EU’s 27 nations in Brussels after vowing to carry on her husband’s fight against the Russian president’s vicelike grip on Russia.

European diplomats said that she reiterated her determination to keep up the struggle and called on the bloc to do more to target Putin’s circle – drawing a standing ovation from the room.

She also warned against striking any deals with the Russian leader or hoping that he would change, they said.

Hours earlier, Navalnaya had posted a striking video message on X in which she called on her husband’s supporters to keep fighting against the Kremlin’s oppression to construct a ‘peaceful, happy, beautiful Russia that Alexei envisioned’.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote on X: ‘We expressed the EU’s deepest condolences to Yulia Navalnaya. Vladimir Putin and his regime will be held accountable for the death of Alexei Navalny.

‘As Yulia said, Putin is not Russia. Russia is not Putin. We will continue our support to Russia’s civil society and independent media.’

Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Putin, who was seen smirking as he held a meeting at the Kremlin with Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea. 

Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya meets Belgian Foreign minister Lahbib (not pictured) after an Informal gathering of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU

Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya meets Belgian Foreign minister Lahbib (not pictured) after an Informal gathering of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU

Smiling Vladimir Putin pictured during 19 February 2024 meeting with the Governor of Sevastopol in the occupied Crimea Mikhail Razvozhayev

Smiling Vladimir Putin pictured during 19 February 2024 meeting with the Governor of Sevastopol in the occupied Crimea Mikhail Razvozhayev

In a video message, Yulia Navalnya, 47, (pictured) said: ‘Vladimir Putin killed my husband.’

Navalny's death was announced on Friday afternoon

Navalny’s death was announced on Friday afternoon 

Alexei and Yulia met while on holiday in Turkey

Alexei and Yulia met while on holiday in Turkey

Earlier today in a heartfelt video message Navalnya, 47, said: ‘Vladimir Putin killed my husband.’

Holding back tears, she pledged to carry on her husband’s work and fight for a free Russia with the help of its citizens.

‘I want to live in a free Russia, I want to build a free Russia,’ she said the video message entitled ‘I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny’.

Navalnaya accused the Russian authorities of hiding Navalny’s body and of waiting for traces of the Novichok nerve agent to disappear from his body.

‘Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband Alexei Navalny. Putin killed the father of my children.

‘Putin took away the most precious I had in my life – my most dear and the most loved man.

‘But Putin also took Navalny away from you, somewhere in a [penal] colony in the Far North, beyond the Arctic Circle, in eternal winter.

‘Putin didn’t just kill a man called Alexei Navalny. Together with him, Putin wanted to kill our hopes, our freedom, our future. To destroy and nullify it.

‘The best evidence that Russia can be different, that we are strong, brave, that we believe and desperately fight and want to live differently.’

‘By killing Alexei, Putin killed half of me – half of my heart and half of my soul,’ Navalnaya said.

‘But I still have the other half, and it tells me that I have no right to give up. I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny, continue to fight for our country.’

‘I urge you to stand next to me,’ she said. ‘I ask you to share the rage with me. Rage, anger, hatred towards those who dared to kill our future.’

‘I address you with the words of Alexei, which I strongly believe: ‘There’s no shame in doing a little. There is shame in doing nothing. There is shame in allowing yourself to be intimidated.’

‘Russia – the free, peaceful, happy, beautiful Russia of the future about which my husband dreamed… I want to live in that Russia. I want mine and Alexei’s children to live in that Russia.

‘I want to build that with you, that which Alexei Navalny set forth. It is only this way – and there is no other way – that the senseless death he suffered will not be in vain.

‘Fight, and don’t give up. I am not afraid – and you will not fear anything.’

Leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya takes part in a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Brussels

Leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya takes part in a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Brussels

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and his lawyer Alexei Tsvetkov walk out of an office of the Investigative Committee's regional department in the city of Salekhard

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and his lawyer Alexei Tsvetkov walk out of an office of the Investigative Committee’s regional department in the city of Salekhard

Just two minutes after the time Navalny was reported to have died - 2.17pm - Russia's prison service put out a statement revealing his passing

Just two minutes after the time Navalny was reported to have died – 2.17pm – Russia’s prison service put out a statement revealing his passing

Navalny’s allies say they know why her husband was killed and would soon reveal the details, including the names of the people involved in his murder. The Kremlin has denied involvement in his death. 

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, has been unable to recover his body since his death on Friday. 

A close legal aide to the dissident, Kira Yarmysh, said Lyudmila, who was today seen at a regional office of Russia’s Investigative Committee, was told by authorities that his body would only be handed over following a full post-mortem examination. 

The prison service has been accused of delaying the return of his body.  

She was reportedly told that an initial post-mortem was inconclusive, and that a second one needed to be undertaken.

And today, Russian investigators told his family they will not hand over Navalny’s body to his relatives for 14 days ‘until a chemical examination is completed,’ said Ivan Zhdanov, head of the dead politician’s anti-corruption campaign. 

Lyudmila was initially told that his body had been taken to the town of Salekhard, near the penal colony he was being held in, but when she arrived the morgue was closed. 

Last night, CCTV footage that is believed to have shown a midnight motorcade made up of prison vehicles and two highway patrol cars that took Navalny’s corpse from the Polar Wolf prison was leaked. 

Since reports of his death were published, his family and allies have accused the Kremlin of deliberately hiding his body

Since reports of his death were published, his family and allies have accused the Kremlin of deliberately hiding his body

This handout photo published by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on his instagram account, shows himself and his wife Yulia, posing for a photo in a hospital in Berlin, Germany

This handout photo published by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on his instagram account, shows himself and his wife Yulia, posing for a photo in a hospital in Berlin, Germany

In the security footage of the midnight motorcade, the Soviet-designed Federal Penitentiary Service van believed to be carrying Navalny is clearly seen flanked by an unmarked car and several police vehicles.

The drive from the Polar Wolf jail in Kharp went first to Labytnangi, and then crossed the frozen Ob, the world’s seventh longest river, to Salekhard, according to independent news outlet Mediazona which obtained the footage of the macabre journey.

The journey across the thick ice may have ended at a hospital morgue, where paramedics revealed Navalny’s body was covered in bruises, according to another news outlet, Novaya Gazeta Europe.

Russia’s prison service announced Navalny’s death on Friday.

It was most recently reported that Navalny died of ‘sudden death syndrome’, but no details were given to back this claim up.

Just two minutes after the time Navalny was reported to have died – 2.17pm – Russia’s prison service put out a statement revealing his passing.

Four minutes after this, a Telegram channel controlled by the Kremlin claimed he had died of a blood clot, and just seven minutes later Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, was talking to the media about it.

Since reports of his death were published, his family and allies have accused the Kremlin of deliberately hiding his body. 

Independent outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe yesterday reported that Navalny’s body shows signs of bruising that were caused by being held down while he suffered a seizure

It was most recently reported that Navalny died of 'sudden death syndrome', but no details were given to back this claim up

It was most recently reported that Navalny died of ‘sudden death syndrome’, but no details were given to back this claim up

Police officers detain a woman during a gathering in memory of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny near the Wall of Grief monument to the victims of political repressions in Moscow

Police officers detain a woman during a gathering in memory of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny near the Wall of Grief monument to the victims of political repressions in Moscow

Women with red carnations arrive to lay flowers for late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at the "Wall of Grief" monument

Women with red carnations arrive to lay flowers for late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at the ‘Wall of Grief’ monument

The news outlet spoke to a paramedic in the Salekhard ambulance service, close to the IK-3 penal colony, also known as ‘Polar Wolf’, in the town of Kharp, in the Yamalo-Nenetsk region about 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow, where Navalny was being held.

Paramedics found bruises on Navalny’s body, which is now under police guard in a morgue at Salekhard district clinical hospital, according to the independent news outlet.

‘Usually the bodies of people who die in prison are taken straight to the Bureau of Forensic Medicine on Glazkova Street, but in this case it was taken to the clinical hospital for some reason,’ the anonymous paramedic told the outlet.

‘As an experienced paramedic, I can say that the injuries described by those who saw them appeared to be from convulsions.

‘If a person is convulsing and others try to hold him down but the convulsions are very strong, then bruising appears. They also said he had a bruise on his chest — the kind that comes from indirect cardiac massage. 

‘So they did try to resuscitate him, and he probably died of cardiac arrest,’ the paramedic said, adding: ‘But nobody is saying anything about why he had a cardiac arrest.’ 

Yesterday, the British and American ambassadors to Russia laid flowers at a memorial to Navalny set up in Moscow, as hundreds of Russian citizens have been arrested for paying tribute to the dead dissident. 

US ambassador Lynne Tracy and Britain’s Nigel Casey both paid their respects to Navalny at the Solovetsky Stone monument in Moscow, which was created to pay tribute to the victims of political repression. 

The stone is made with a large boulder from the Solovetsky islands, where the first camp of the Gulag political prison system was established, and can be found near the historical the Federal Security Service building in Moscow. 



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