Russian authorities have declared that the opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny died of pure causes however are refusing to launch his stays till his household agrees to a “secret funeral,” Mr. Navalny’s mom and his spokeswoman stated on Thursday.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, Mr. Navalny’s mom, stated she had been “secretly” taken to a morgue Wednesday night time, “the place they confirmed me Aleksei.” She was proven a medical report on Mr. Navalny’s demise that stated he died of pure causes, according to the Navalny crew’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh.

However Ms. Navalnaya, 69, stated she now was locked in a grim battle with native authorities within the northern Russian metropolis of Salekhard who, taking orders from Moscow, weren’t releasing custody of the stays. She stated the authorities warned that if she didn’t “comply with a secret funeral,” then “they are going to do one thing with my son’s physique.”

“They’re blackmailing me,” Ms. Navalnaya stated in a video posted on her son’s YouTube channel. “They’re setting me situations on the place, when and the way Aleksei must be buried.”

The back-and-forth over Mr. Navalny’s stays displays how pivotal a determine he’s in Russian politics and world wide — even in demise. Proving that, President Biden met with Mr. Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, and his daughter, Daria, on Thursday in California, the place Daria, who goes by Dasha, is a scholar at Stanford.

The president expressed his admiration for Mr. Navalny’s “extraordinary braveness and his legacy of preventing in opposition to corruption and for a free and democratic Russia during which the rule of legislation applies equally to everybody,” in accordance with a White Home assertion. The president emphasised that Mr. Navalny’s “legacy will keep on by way of folks throughout Russia and world wide mourning his loss and preventing for freedom, democracy and human rights.”

After his assembly, Mr. Biden informed reporters in San Francisco that the US would announce sanctions on Friday in opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Mr. Biden stated the Russian chief was chargeable for Mr. Navalny’s demise.

“We’re not letting up,” Mr. Biden added.

The Kremlin seems to worry {that a} funeral drawing Mr. Navalny’s supporters may flip into a focus for protest. There was no instant remark from the Russian authorities on Lyudmila Navalnaya’s assertions.

“They wish to take me to the sting of a cemetery to a recent grave and say, ‘Right here lies your son,’” Ms. Navalnaya stated in her video from Salekhard, the closest metropolis to the Arctic jail the place Mr. Navalny died final week. “I don’t agree with this. I would like these of you who valued Aleksei and take his demise as a private tragedy to have the prospect to say farewell to him.”

Because the drama performed out, Mr. Putin stayed silent about Mr. Navalny and continued a publicity tour that appeared geared towards subsequent month’s presidential election — a rubber-stamp affair Mr. Putin is assured to win, however one the Kremlin is predicted to make use of to show Mr. Putin’s legitimacy.

On Thursday, Mr. Putin took a brief flight on a supersonic bomber, a stunt that doubled as a conspicuous reminder to the West of his nation’s standing as a nuclear superpower. Earlier this week, Mr. Putin denied American officials’ warnings that Russia could also be planning to put a nuclear weapon into orbit — however added that Russia’s new technology of nuclear weapons meant for earthbound targets are what “they actually must be afraid of.”

Thursday’s flight took solely half-hour, the Kremlin stated in a statement, however the vary of the wide-wing Tu-160M, often known as a White Swan in Russia, permits it to achieve the continental United States with two dozen nuclear weapons aboard.

Russian state tv confirmed Mr. Putin, 71, climbing up the steps below the enormous warplane, one of many largest and heaviest on the planet, earlier than it took off from the runway of an airfield in Kazan, a metropolis east of Moscow. The Kremlin launched a video of Mr. Putin’s flight that confirmed him sitting in a pilot’s seat.

Upon disembarking the aircraft, Mr. Putin informed reporters that the flight left impression and praised the brand new modernized bomber as “very dependable.”

Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, informed state tv that Mr. Putin made the choice to take the flight spontaneously on Thursday when he visited an aviation manufacturing facility in Kazan, the place he inspected 4 modernized Tu-160M bombers.

However since he grew to become Russian president greater than twenty years in the past, Mr. Putin has turn into recognized for publicity stunts designed to forged him as a robust chief of an amazing energy. He has flown in a fighter jet, plunged into the ocean in a submersible and steered Siberian cranes to their winter habitat in a motorized grasp glider. In 2005, Mr. Putin took a flight in an older model of the Soviet-era bomber, the Tu-160.

Mr. Putin has stated nothing in public about Mr. Navalny’s demise final Friday, although Mr. Peskov stated the identical day that the president had been briefed.

Different Russian officers, nonetheless, have continued to assault Mr. Navalny’s motion after his demise. On Thursday, Dmitri A. Medvedev, the previous Russian president and now the deputy head of Mr. Putin’s Safety Council, educated his ire on Yulia Navalnaya.

Yulia Navalnaya, who had lengthy shunned the highlight, stated after her husband’s demise that she would work to hold on his legacy.

“Have a look at the smiling, joyful face of Navalny’s widow,” Mr. Medvedev stated in an interview launched Thursday. “You get the sensation that she was ready for this occasion all these years with the intention to unfold her political life.”

Yulia Navalnaya dismissed Mr. Medvedev’s feedback on the social media platform X, calling him a “no person.”

However the greatest supply of tensions on Thursday centered what would occur to Mr. Navalny’s physique and his funeral.

Ivan Zhdanov, a high aide to Mr. Navalny, stated that investigators had informed Mr. Navalny’s mom that her son’s physique wanted to be saved exterior Moscow earlier than burial as a result of they have been afraid {that a} morgue within the Russian capital “can be stormed.”

In an interview posted to YouTube on Thursday, Mr. Zhdanov stated that investigators, below orders from Moscow, tried to restrict Mr. Navalny’s kinfolk of their selection of cemetery and funeral corridor. Mr. Zhdanov in contrast the authorities’ calls for to the funeral of the mercenary chief Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, who was laid to rest secretly in St. Petersburg after main a 24-hour mutiny in opposition to the Kremlin and dying in a aircraft crash two months later.

“It’s arduous to shock us,” Mr. Zhdanov stated. “However it was arduous to think about {that a} mom can be blackmailed with a rotting physique with the intention to convey it to Moscow and bury it in secret.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.




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