Kremlin will face 'consequences', Cameron warns, as vigils take place around the world after 'murder' of Alexei Navalny

17 February 2024, 19:12 | Updated: 17 February 2024, 19:21

Kremlin will be met with 'consequences' after 'murder' of Alexei Navalny, Cameron warns, as protests take place around the world
Kremlin will be met with 'consequences' after 'murder' of Alexei Navalny, Cameron warns, as protests take place around the world. Picture: alamy

By Christian Oliver

Putin and the Kremlin will be met with 'consequences' for the death of Alexei Navalny, the Foreign Secretary has warned - as gatherings and vigils take place across the world following the anti-corruption campaigner's 'murder'.

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Western capitals have pinned the "murder" of Navalny on Vladimir Putin. Russian state news however claimed that he became unwell and lost consciousness following a walk on Friday.

Britain joined other Western countries in condemning the Kremlin after Russia's federal prison service said in a statement that the 47-year-old politician and anti-corruption campaigner had died.

Diplomats at the Russian Embassy were subsequently summoned to the Foreign Office in London and were told to "investigate fully and transparently" the death of the long-time Putin critic.

"There should be consequences," British Foreign Secretary David Cameron told broadcasters at the Munich Security Conference.

Alexei Navalny died in prison
Alexei Navalny died in prison. Picture: Getty
Putin on Friday
Putin on Friday. Picture: Getty

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"When appalling human rights outrages like this take place, what we do is we look at whether there are individual people that are responsible and whether there are individual measures and actions we can take.

"We don't announce them in advance, so I can't say anymore than that. But that is what we will be looking at.

"Of course we have already summoned the ambassador and made clear our views about this dreadful event and the way this person was treated."

He said he would be meeting with G7 foreign ministers at the German gathering: "I am clear that we will be taking action and I would urge others do to the same."

It comes as protests and gatherings took place around the world following the death of the Putin critic.

People laid down followers and lit candles in memory of the politician outside Russian embassies in London, Germany, and other European countries.

People leave flowers and lit candles opposite the Russian embassy, to commemorate the death of Alexei Navalny in London, Saturday
People leave flowers and lit candles opposite the Russian embassy, to commemorate the death of Alexei Navalny in London, Saturday. Picture: Alamy
Candles and photos of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are placed near the Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday
Candles and photos of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are placed near the Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday. Picture: Alamy

Read more: 'Murdered by Putin': Kremlin arch-enemy Alexei Navalny dies after 'going for a walk' in freezing Russian prison

Read more: Vladimir Putin's main political rival Alexei Navalny 'disappears from prison'

Navalny's death comes less than a month before an election that will give Mr Putin another six years in power.

"Putin kills whoever he wants," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who attended the same conference as other world leaders, told the audience.

"After the murder of Alexei Navalny, it's absurd to perceive Putin as a supposedly legitimate head of a Russian state and he is a thug who maintains power through corruption and violence.

"He has just yesterday tried to send us all a clear message as the Munich Security Conference opened, Putin murdered another opposition leader."

Navalny had been jailed since January 2021 after he returned to Moscow, knowing he would face arrest after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning.

He was later convicted by the Russian court three times, saying each case was politically motivated, and received a sentence of 19 years for extremism.

After the last verdict, Navalny said he understood he was "serving a life sentence, which is measured by the length of my life or the length of life of this regime".

Hours after Mr Navalny's death was reported, his widow Yulia Navalnaya made an appearance in Munich.

"I want Putin and everyone around Putin, Putin's friends, his government to know that they will bear responsibility for what they did to our country, to my family and to my husband," she said.

US President Joe Biden said Washington does not know exactly what happened, "but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something Putin and his thugs did".

Sunak pays tribute after death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin
Alexei Navalny was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin. Picture: Getty

Watch Again: James O'Brien and Bill Browder on Alexei Navalny's death | 16/02/24

Kremlin critics and Western politicians blamed Putin for his death after the news emerged on Friday morning.

Bill Browder told LBC: "Alexei Navalny was one of the most courageous people in Russia.

“He was ready to call out Putin for who he is which is A criminal, a thief and a murderer.

“For that Putin tried to kill him with chemical nerve agent Novichok in 2020. Here we are in 2024 and they got him.

“He was an extremely healthy vital young man before the poisoning attempt. It’s obvious to me that Alexei Navalny was killed by Putin.”

Mr Browder said later: "Let's make no mistake, Putin assassinated Alexei Navalny. He did so because Alexei Navalny was brave enough to stand up to Putin.

"He did so because Navalny offered the Russian people an alternative to kleptocracy and repression. This is a tragic day for Navalny and his family, but also for Russia and the hope for a better future."

Responding to the news, former oligarch and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky said: "If this is true, then, regardless of the formal reason, Vladimir Putin personally bears responsibility for his premature death.

Khodorkovsky said that it was Putin that “first authorised the poisoning of Alexei and then put him in prison”.

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