On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said that he discussed the imprisonment of Putin opposition leader Alexei Navalny while meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a press conference following the meeting, Biden was asked about what he told Putin would happen if Navalny were to die in prison.
“I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Biden said without expanding further.
He added, “What do you think happens when he’s saying it’s not about hurting Navalny, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny, and then he dies in prison?… It’s about trust. It’s about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way.”
Biden appeared to note that it would not be in Russia’s best interest if Navalny were to die in prison and that other countries would not be as interested in working with Russia if they have concerns about the country’s handling of certain situations.
Republican lawmakers took a different route with regard to Russia, sending a letter to Biden on Wednesday asking him to “impose the legally-mandated second round of sanctions as required by the U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (‘CBW Act’) to hold the Putin regime accountable for its continued use of chemical weapons and flagrant disregard for international norms and fundamental rights.”
The lawmakers stated that the Biden administration had expanded sanctions that already existed on Russia when it took action earlier this year after determining that the Russian government had used a chemical weapon against Navalny. They said, however, that the CBW Act requires that the administration put forward another grouping of sanctions at this time unless Biden tells Congress in writing that the Putin regime is “no longer using chemical weapons in violation of international law, has provided reliable assurances that it will not in the future engage in any such activities, and is willing to allow on-site inspections by internationally recognized, impartial observers.”
The letter was signed by Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Senator James Risch (R-ID), who argued that since Russia has not taken any of the aforementioned actions, Biden’s administration needs to impose more sanctions on Putin’s regime. They noted that they are “concerned that the delay of the imposition of these mandatory sanctions appears to be part of a larger pattern to avoid confronting the Putin regime” before the Geneva summit.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Putin critic Alexei Navalny was sentenced to prison after returning to Moscow from Germany where he was undergoing treatment for poisoning from a nerve agent that he blames on the Kremlin. The Kremlin has denied any responsibility for his poisoning, but United States intelligence officials have “concluded with high confidence that Navalny was poisoned last year with a banned nerve agent called Novichok by the Russian security services,” according to Politico.
During a court appearance in April, Navalny had a shaved head and looked to be underweight. He told the court, including his wife who was present, “I am just a horrible skeleton.” He said his weight had dropped to around 159 pounds, stating that he hadn’t weighed that much since around the seventh grade.
At the time, he was recovering from a hunger strike he had gone through for around 24 days in protest of his lack of access to medical care from his personal doctors while in prison.
CNN reported that Navalny said he ate “four tablespoons of porridge a day, today five, tomorrow I will eat six.”
Speaking of Putin, he said at the time, “I would like to say that your king is naked, and more than one little boy is shouting about it — it is now millions of people who are already shouting about it. It is quite obvious. Twenty years of incompetent rule have come to this: there is a crown sliding from his ears.”
“Your naked king wants to rule until the end, he doesn’t care about the country, he is clung to power and wants to rule indefinitely,” he said.
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