Home » David Cameron accuses Russian foreign minister to his face: ‘You murdered Navalny’

David Cameron accuses Russian foreign minister to his face: ‘You murdered Navalny’

by John Jefferson
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David Cameron has told Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to his face that Russia murdered Alexei Navalvy – but Lavrov refused to meet his gaze and instead looked at this phone.

Britain’s foreign secretary used a meeting at the G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro to confront the Russian representation about Mr Navalny – Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic – who was announced dead in the Arctic prison where he was serving a decades-long prison sentence last week.

On Wednesday, the UK froze the assets of six Russian prison bosses in charge of the “Polar Wolf” prison colony, becoming the first country to issue sanctions over the killing of Navalny – saying that those responsible for his “brutal treatment” will be held to account.

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Cameron said that representatives for France, Canada and Germany joined him in using speeches to name Mr Navalny and say they hold Putin and the Russian state at large responsible for his murder. The meeting occurred behind closed doors, with each nation present getting five minutes to speak, usually in alphabetical order.

Mr Navalny’s wife, Yulia, has accused Putin of killing her husband, who was moved to the remote Arctic prison late last year and has faced multiple sentences on charges the international community and Mr Navalny’s supporters believe were trumped up to try and silence him. His death comes a month before a presidential election where Putin is expected to easily claim re-election.

Ms Navalnaya has said that she believes Russia is hiding her husband’s body, which is yet to be returned to his family, until traces of the nerve agent novichok disappear from his system. Mr Navalny faced life-saving treatment for poisoning with the nerve agent in Germany in 2020. An attack that he blamed on the Kremlin. Mr Navalny returned to Russia in 2021 and was instantly arrested and had been in prison ever since. Yulia last saw him in person two years ago.

Calling Putin and the Russian authorities “cowardly”, Ms Navalnaya spoke with anger in a video address released on Monday. “My husband was unbreakable. And that’s precisely why Putin killed him,” she said. “Shamefully, cowardly, without ever daring to look him in the eye or just say his name. And just as shamefully and cowardly, they are now hiding his body, not showing it to his mother, not giving it back, and pathetically lying and waiting for traces of another Putin novichok to disappear.”

“We know exactly why Putin killed Alexei three days ago,” Ms Navalnaya said. “We will tell you about it soon. We will definitely find out who exactly carried out this crime, and how exactly. We will name the names and show the faces.”

Mr Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, has filed a lawsuit at a court in the Arctic city of Salekhard contesting officials’ refusal to release her son’s body.

Lyudmila appealed to Putin on Tuesday to release her son’s res so that she could bury him with dignity.

“For the fifth day, I have been unable to see him. They wouldn’t release his body to me. And they’re not even telling me where he is,” a black-clad Navalnaya, 69, said in the video, with the barbed wire of Penal Colony No. 3 in Kharp, about 1,200 miles (1,900km) northeast of Moscow.

“I’m reaching out to you, Vladimir Putin. The resolution of this matter depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body is released immediately, so that I can bury him like a human being,” she said in the video, which was posted to social media by Navalny’s team.

Russian authorities have claimed the cause of Navalny’s death is still unknown and refused to release his body for the next two weeks as a chemical analysis takes place, members of Mr Navalny’s team have said.

At the G20 summit in Brazil, Lord Cameron said he used his speech to as all the countries in the room if there was anything more important to them than the sovereignty of their own country, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which will reach the two-year mark on Saturday. He added that messages about both Mr Navalny and Ukraine were important for Russia’s allies to hear. The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to support Ukraine in its fight against Putin’s forces.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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