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INTERNATIONAL

Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the death of Alexei Navalny

Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the death of Alexei Navalny

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DILI, 22 february 2024 (TATOLI) – The European Union is outraged by the death of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, for which the ultimate responsibility lies with President Putin and the Russian authorities. Today at the Foreign Affairs Council we expressed our deepest condolences to his wife Yulia Navalnaya, their children, family, friends and all those who worked with him for the benefit of their country.

Russia must allow an independent and transparent international investigation into circumstances of his sudden death. The EU will spare no efforts to hold Russia’s political leadership and authorities to account, in close coordination with our partners; and impose further costs for their actions, including through sanctions.

Around the world people have gathered to pay tribute to the memory of Alexei Navalny. In Russia, the authorities tried to prevent the same in a number of places and several hundred people have been detained. They must be immediately released.

Navalny had bravely returned to Russia after an assassination attempt with the nerve agent “Novichok” banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which the Russian Federation is a State Party. He was serving several politically motivated sentences in a strict penal colony in Siberia where he was moved to isolate him from the rest of the world. His family’s access to him was restricted. His lawyers are being harassed and three of them have been in pre-trial custody since October 2023.

The European Union has repeatedly condemned in the strongest possible terms his poisoning and all politically motivated rulings against him for his legitimate political and anti-corruption activities, calling for his immediate and unconditional release. It has repeatedly called on Russia to ensure his safety and health, including by approaching authorities in Moscow to no avail.

Throughout his life, Navalny demonstrated incredible courage, dedication to his country and his fellow citizens and determination, with his anti-corruption work across Russia, a message that attracted many across the country. This is why Putin and his regime were afraid of him, also in the context of Russia’s ongoing illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and the Russian Presidential elections in March.

Navalny’s unexpected and shocking death is yet another sign of the accelerating and systematic repression in Russia. The European Union repeats its call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release all other political prisoners, including Yuri Dmitriev, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ilya Yashin, Alexei Gorinov, Lilia Chanysheva, Ksenia Fadeeva, Alexandra Skochilenko and Ivan Safronov.

 

TATOLI

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