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Yulia Navalnaya Vows to Continue Opposition Against Putin After Navalny’s Death

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, has vowed to continue her husband’s work, saying she “will continue to fight for our country’s freedom” and “call on you to support me.”

“Vladimir Putin killed my husband,” Navalnaya said in an online video statement. She added, “The most important thing we can do for Alexei and ourselves is to continue fighting, harder and more fiercely than before.”

Navalny’s death on Friday at a Russian penal colony above the Arctic Circle sparked international and domestic outrage, with many Western countries pointing the finger at the Kremlin. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday, “There is no doubt: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death.” Biden said Navalny’s experience was “more proof of Putin’s brutality.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed similar views on social media X on Monday (February 19). “We express the EU’s deepest condolences to Yulia Navalnaya,” he said, adding that “Vladimir Putin and his regime will be held accountable.”

Moscow has strongly denied accusations that the Kremlin was involved. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the accusations were “absolutely unacceptable” and that Navalny’s death was under active investigation.

Russian prison authorities said Navalny fell into a coma and died on Friday after taking a walk in Harp’s Arctic prison, where he was serving a long sentence.

According to Peskov, the Kremlin has yet to release the results of the investigation or provide details on when Navalny’s body will be returned to his family. Putin has yet to comment on Navalny’s death.

Navalny’s allies say his mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, has been denied access to a morgue in northern Russia. Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, said on social media that Lyudmila Navalnaya and her lawyers “were not allowed in” and that “one of the lawyers really was pushed out.”

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Navalny’s team alleged that authorities were delaying the return of the bodies to “cover their tracks.”

Navalny’s death is a blow to many Russians, who see the leader as a beacon of hope for what they see as a free Russia.

“We know exactly why Putin killed Alexei three days ago,” Yulia Navalnaya said. She added, “We will definitely find out exactly who committed this crime and how it was committed. We will name them and make their faces public.”

Navalny’s death occurred months before major elections in Russia. The election result could keep Putin in power until at least 2030.

“I want to live in a free Russia; I want to build a free Russia,” Navalnaya said, urging viewers to join in supporting her mission and “unite as a powerful fist against this crazy regime—Putin, his friends, the uniformed bandits, thieves, and murderers who brought our country to its knees.”

Over the weekend, mourners laid flowers at monuments across Russia to honor the late leader. Authorities detained hundreds of people.

The media reported on Monday that several people were seen carrying flowers to pay tribute to Navalny at a monument honoring victims of Soviet repression. There was a heavy police presence at the scene.

In different parts of Russia, authorities removed flowers and offerings left by people, but as the offerings were removed, more flowers appeared.

Navalny is also remembered outside of Russia. In Kazakhstan, Russian rocker Yuri Shevchuk sang a song in memory of Navalny and addressed the crowd, saying Navalny “speaks of freedom” to Russians and reminding them they “can be free in the best sense of the word.”

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Russian immigrants also mourned Navalny’s death in cities across Europe. Many of them fled Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Protesters gathered around Russian embassies in European countries on Friday, holding signs calling Putin a “killer.”.

At a protest in Berlin, hundreds of people chanted slogans in Russian, German, and English. Many people said, “Send Putin to The Hague,” referring to sending Putin to the International Criminal Court to stand trial.

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