FLASHBACK: Biden promised Putin there would be 'devastating' consequences if opposition leader Navalny died in Russian prison

“I made it clear to [Putin] that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.” 


President Joe Biden, in a 2021 summit, warned that if Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in prison, the "consequences of that would be devastating for Russia." 

The leader died on Friday while serving a 19-year term in a Russian prison. He was 47 years old and had been in jail since 2021. 

During a 2021 summit in Geneva with Putin, the president said, if Navalny were to die in prison, “I made it clear to [Putin] that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.” 

Biden 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?" 

The president commented on what happens when a country would take such actions, saying that the country wouldn't be "trusted" and would be a violation of "international norms." 

"It’s about trust. It’s about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way," he added.  

Navalny has been a fierce opponent to Vladimir Putin in the country. He was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism. The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service claimed that the leader felt unwell after a walk on Friday, lost consciousness, and died. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin was told information of the leader's passing. Authorities said the cause was still “being established.” 

The event comes ahead of a presidential election next month, just ahead of what would be Putin's fifth term in office. 

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