Biden meets with Alexei Navalny's family in San Francisco

During his California visit, President Joe Biden on Thursday met in San Francisco with Alexei Navalny's widow and daughter to express his condolences to them, less than a week after the Russian opposition leader was found dead in prison. 

Biden shared photos of himself with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya, the latter who attends Stanford University, in a warm embrace. It wasn't immediately apparent where the meeting was held. 

"Aleksey's legacy of courage will live on in Yulia and Dasha, and the countless people across Russia fighting for democracy and human rights," Biden wrote on his POTUS social media account, using an alternate spelling of Navalny's first name.

Navalny’s died Feb. 16 in an Arctic penal colony.

In what is called a daily readout, Biden emphasized that Navalny's legacy will carry on through people "across Russia and around the world mourning his loss and fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights in response to Navalny’s death and Russia’s repression and aggression, and its brutal and illegal war in Ukraine."


President Joe Bident hugs Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russlan opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Photo: POTUS X account 

In an interview with Fox News after the meeting, Biden said simply: [President Vladimir] "Putin was responsible for his death." 

Biden said major sanctions would be imposed on Russia on Friday. 

The meeting was not previously reported and didn't appear on Biden's official White House schedule.

So far, the U.S. and its allies have sanctioned thousands of Russian people and firms, frozen Russian Central Bank funds, banned certain Russian goods, restricted Russian banks’ access to SWIFT — the dominant system for global financial transactions — and imposed a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil and diesel, among other measures.

Navalny was a Russian opposition leader, lawyer, anti-corruption activist, and political prisoner. 


President Joe Biden meets with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya, the latter who attends Stanford University. Feb. 22, 2024. Photo: POTUS X account

He had organized anti-government demonstrations and ran for office to advocate reforms against corruption in Russia and against Putin.

Yulia Navalnaya has pledged to continue her husband's work and blamed Putin for his death, an allegation the Kremlin has angrily rejected.

Earlier in the day, Yulia Navalnaya shared a photo of herself with her daughter, saying she had flown to be with her.

"Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband," the widow said in a YouTube video posted Monday before she met with European Union foreign ministers in Brussels. 

In the video, she said Russian authorities were waiting for traces of "yet another Putin’s Novichok" to leave his body — referring to the military nerve agent used to poison him in 2020.

Navalnaya promised to take over her late husband's fight for a "free Russia."

Putin has not commented publicly on the death of Navalny, who was serving sentences totaling more than 30 years on a series of charges, including fraud and extremism, that he said were trumped up to silence him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.