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Alexei Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya accuses Putin of murder, vows to fight for freedom

Russia: Yulia Navalnaya, widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accused President Vladimir Putin of her husband's death and vowed to continue his fight for a "free Russia." She alleged Russian authorities hid Navalny's body to erase traces of the Novichok nerve agent.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 Moscow Updated on: February 20, 2024 11:37 IST
Yulia Navalnaya Alexei Navalny
Image Source : REUTERS/FILE PHOTO Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Alexei Navalny, takes part in a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died mysteriously in prison, has accused President Vladimir Putin of killing her husband and pledged to continue his struggle for a "free Russia," according to reports. Navalnaya alleged that Russian authorities hid Navalny's body to erase traces of the Novichok nerve agent. In a video statement released Monday, she declared, "Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband, Alexey Navalny," and vowed to carry on his work. Navalnaya also urged support in her quest for justice, stating, "I want to live in a free Russia. I want to build a free Russia." She met with European officials in Brussels, including European Council President Charles Michel and the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell.

Questions surround Navalny's death

Navalny, aged 47, died in the IK-3 maximum security prison colony in Kharp, north of the Arctic Circle, where he was serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges, as per reports. His family has been denied access to his body even three days after his death. His spokesperson, Kira Yarmish, stated that the body would undergo chemical examination for at least 14 days. Moscow claims Navalny felt ill during a walk and fainted, but the circumstances remain unclear. Footage suggests his body was transported to Salekhard.

Navalny's legacy and public reaction

A former lawyer, Navalny gained prominence for his anti-corruption campaigns and bold activism. Thousands honored him across Russia, with over 400 arrests reported. The OVD-Info rights group launched a petition demanding Navalny's body be released to his family, garnering over 50,000 signatures. Navalny's death has reignited calls for accountability and democracy in Russia.

Also read | Yulia Navalnaya's heartfelt tribute: 'I Love You', beside picture of her and Alexei Navalny

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