Biden Blames Putin for Death of Russian Critic Alexei Navalny

The reported death of Russian anti-corruption advocate Alexei Navalny has heightened the urgency for Congress to approve tens of billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, according to Joe Biden on Friday.

President Biden blamed Navalny’s death to Vladimir Putin, adding, “I hope to God it helps” motivate US legislators to increase aid to Ukraine.

Biden remarked that “history is watching” the members of the House of Representatives, who have yet to act on a bill passed by the Senate to deliver a $60 billion military assistance package to Ukraine.

According to US officials, Ukrainian forces are facing a shortage of essential munitions on the battlefield.

“The failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten,” Biden said. “And the clock is ticking. This has to happen. We have to help now.”

He also expressed dismay at House Republicans for starting a two-week recess without addressing the funding for Ukraine.

“What are they thinking? My God,” Biden said. “This is bizarre, and it’s just reinforcing all the concern – I won’t say panic but real concern – about the United States being a responsible ally.”

At the same time, prominent Republican leaders have condemned Navalny’s death and criticized members within their ranks for seemingly attempting to appease the Russian leader.

“There is no room in the Republican party for apologists for Putin. RIP Alexey Navalny,” wrote former Vice President Mike Pence on social media.

He added, “Putin is a war criminal and only understands strength,” and urged Congress to “set aside the politics of the moment” and pass legislation supporting aid to Ukraine.

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina also voiced criticism against Republicans who have shown conditional support for the President of Russia.

“Navalny laid down his life fighting for the freedom of the country he loved,” Tillis said.

“Putin is a murderous, paranoid dictator. History will not be kind to those in America who make apologies for Putin and praise Russian autocracy. Nor will history be kind to America’s leaders who stay silent because they fear backlash from online pundits.”

Both men seemed to be addressing members of the Republican party who have recently slowed the approval process for the aid package intended for Ukraine.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson last week changed his stance to oppose the aid after viewing an interview between Vladimir Putin and Tucker Carlson.

Johnson remarked that despite recognizing Putin as a war criminal who isn’t entirely truthful, he found the interview with the former Fox News host quite interesting, and that “an awful lot of what Vladimir Putin said was right… accurate and obvious.”

Congressman Clay Higgins of Louisiana, who is part of the House Freedom Caucus, has also openly praised the Russian leader.

“Putin is a studied man of resolute spirit, and he always comes across as very sincere in his beliefs. You come away from a conversation with him thinking, ‘I may not believe what he says, but I know he believes what he says,'” Higgins has said.

In a speech last Friday, President Biden emphasized the significance of the House of Representatives’ support for Ukraine, stating that any failure at this crucial time would be indelibly recorded in history.

He stressed the urgency of assistance, noting the importance of the moment and the need for immediate action.

Although initial responses from leaders were delayed about Navalny’s situation, Congressman Michael McCaul, the Republican chair of the foreign affairs committee, said, “If confirmed, the death of Alexei Navalny is a tragedy.”

“He was a voice for a better Russia amid the corruption and brutality of Putin’s genocidal regime. The Kremlin must be held to account for this outrage.”

Democratic leaders collectively expressed their outrage over Navalny’s death. Vice President Kamala Harris referred to it as a stark indication of Putin’s cruelty.

Harris, during her keynote speech at the Munich Security Conference, made it clear that Russia was to blame for Navalny’s demise, hinting at a more detailed response to come.