Biden: Putin and thugs responsible for Navalny’s death

US President Joe Biden on Friday blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for Alexei Navalny’s death and warned there could be consequences, saying he was “not surprised” but “outraged” by the opposition leader’s passing.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Nalvany was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did,” Biden said at the White House after Russian prison officials announced that Navalny had died, Reuters reported.

“Russian authorities are going to tell their own story,” Biden said. “But make no mistake. Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death.”

He also said he was “contemplating” additional steps to punish Russia in the aftermath of Navalny’s death, paying tribute to the opposition leader for “bravely” standing up to Putin’s government’s “corruption” and “violence.”

“We’re contemplating what else can be done,” Biden said in response to questions from reporters. “We’re looking at a whole number of options, that’s all I’ll say right now.”

Biden also told reporters that there was “no nuclear threat to the people of America or anywhere else in the world with what Russia is doing at the moment,” even as Russia considered deploying anti-satellite technology in space. Russia has previously denied the claim.

More info on death sought

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what possible steps against Russia were being evaluated.

US officials were still seeking more information about Navalny’s death at a Russian penal colony north of the Arctic Circle, where he was dispatched less than two months ago.
But the development, and Biden’s reaction, has put a further chill into already bitter US-Russian relations.

The 47-year-old Navalny had been a leading critic of Putin, and Biden had said after meeting Putin in Geneva in June 2021 that Nalvany’s death would risk devastating consequences for Putin.

Biden and Putin remain deeply at odds over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, over which Russia has been sanctioned by the United States and other Western nations, and Biden is urging Republican hardliners in the U.S. Congress to support additional funding to pay for more weaponry for Ukraine’s military.