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One World with Zain Asher

Russia's Prison Service Announces Navalny's Death; President Biden Delivers Remarks On Navalny's Death. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired February 16, 2024 - 12:00   ET



VOICE-OVER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zain Asher. You are indeed watching ONE WORLD. We want to continue our breaking news coverage of the reported death

of prominent Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny. Any minute now we're expected to hear from President Biden to talk about his death. We're going to bring

that to you live as soon as it happens.

Russia's prison service announced Navalny's death earlier today, saying that he lost consciousness effectively after taking a walk. His wife spoke

shortly to the world after -- to the world -- after the world learned of his death. And she placed the blame squarely on Russia.

Yulia Navalnaya called on the International Community to fight against Putin's, quote, "horrific regime".


YULIA NAVALNAYA, ALEXEY NAVALNY'S WIFE: They will be punished for what they have done with our country, with my family and with my husband. They

will be brought to justice. And this day will come soon.

I thought about it quite a while. I thought, should I stand here before you or should I go back to my children? And then I thought, what would have

Alexey done in my place? And I'm sure that he would have been standing here.


GOLODRYGA: That once again just reiterates the incredible strength of Yulia Navalnaya. The whole family had been in this fight with her husband,

with Alexey, and fighting for a different kind of Russia.

Navalny was serving a long sentence in a remote penal colony near the Arctic Circle. State media reports that an ambulance crew tried to

resuscitate him for more than half an hour.

Navalny's mother says that she saw her son on Monday and he was healthy and cheerful. And just on Thursday, Navalny appeared in a Russian court via

video link, joking with the judge about how he's running short of money.


ALEXEY NAVALNY, PUTIN CRITIC (through translator): Your Honor, I am waiting and I will send you my bank account number so that you could warm

it up a little from your huge salary of a federal judge. Because my money is running dry and because of the decision you took, it will end even

sooner. So do transfer, Alexander Alexandrovich. You too, please have the whole prison chip in. Bye.


ASHER: All right, let's bring in CNN's Clarissa Ward. Clarissa, here's the thing. There was no one quite like Alexey Navalny, was there? I mean, he

was fearless. He was bold. He was courageous. He was extremely witty. He knew how to make light of even the darkest situations. He was young at


We've seen tributes pouring in from around the world. This effectively turns Navalny into a political martyr, not just outside of Russia, but also

inside Russia as well. Take us through it.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's important to remember that Alexey Navalny made this extraordinary decision

to return to Russia after he had been poisoned with Novichok.

It was only by fluke and the grace of God that when he collapsed on an airplane traveling from Siberia to Moscow that the pilot took the decision

to divert the plane. The plane landed. He was able to get medical care. He was medevaced out to Germany. And though he was in a coma, he survived. He

was rehabilitated.

He was living safely in Europe with his family in good health. And he made the choice to go back knowing and understanding full well the risks that

that entailed. And when I asked him about that before he got on that fateful flight back to Moscow, he said, listen, I would never give Putin

such a gift as to not go back to Russia.

Because he understood implicitly and believed that this was his destiny, this was his mission, that he could only serve the people of Russia by

being on the ground inside Russia. And he did have a large amount of support. He did not pose a threat to President Vladimir Putin while

languishing in a penal colony.

But the work that he and his associates had done to expose the rampant corruption of Russia's political elites, to expose the rampant incompetence

of Russia's security services, had been hugely damaging and humiliating for the Kremlin.

And whether that contributed to his death in the sense of whether he was deliberately assassinated on this day or whether he simply died as a result

of the deplorable conditions that he was being held in, we heard earlier from U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris say it almost doesn't matter because

the responsibility is with the Russian state.


They were the ones responsible for him. He died in Russian custody. And so, the question becomes going forward, what does this mean for the future of

Russia's opposition?

Is this the death blow or does this, you know, political martyrdom, as you called it, necessarily or potentially resuscitate that protest movement?

Does it rekindle the fire of the desire to speak out and have the freedom to voice opposition in Russia?

GOLODRYGA: Well, sadly, Clarissa, it's hard not to see this as an end to the opposition movement in Russia, at least for now. We show images and

have reports of protests and tributes to him from around the world.

And you juxtapose those images with Russia today, where just two, three years ago, when he returned in 2021, there were mass protests when he was

immediately arrested. Now you have one person standing outside with a placard and they're immediately arrested. Somebody laying flowers

immediately detained.

Talk about the impact that he had. Perhaps he wasn't a direct threat to Vladimir Putin, but he was a thorn in his side. And Vladimir Putin

recognized the threat that he posed. He wouldn't even mention his name, right? He called him this blogger of ours.

And while he wasn't allowed for a number of reasons that they created out of thin air to not run, he and his team created a system of smart voting

that would pick essentially other -- other opposition people and politicians that could run against Vladimir Putin.

You don't have that type of ingenuity right now in Russia today. WARD: You don't, because so many people who supported Navalny, who have been

outspoken about their opposition to the kleptocracy of the Kremlin, have ended up dead. They've ended up imprisoned.

Many millions of Russians have fled the country because of the impossibility of speaking out freely inside Russia today. Look at Vladimir

Kara-Murza, another prominent critic of Vladimir Putin, who has been poisoned twice, who is also languishing now in a Russian prison.

Very real concerns, of course, in this moment for his security. What Navalny really tapped into is that the Russian public is different from the

Western public. They're not going to necessarily be seduced by ideas of liberalism that might be popular in the West.

But they do take umbrage at rampant corruption. They do respond to the idea that the natural resources and talents of the Russian people and the

Russian land are being robbed by its leaders. He understood that.

He knew how to communicate with Russians in a very direct, informal way. He had a great sense of humor. He used the Internet. He would put out these

investigations. The one he put out on this colossal palace built by President Putin on the Black Sea had more than 100 million views.

So, it was a very different kind of threat than the threat that the Kremlin has typically been used to dealing with and responding to.

And perhaps it's because of that, because it was slightly unconventional, because it targeted younger people, because it was being done on social

media and online, that they were sort of caught flat-footed in terms of how to respond to it.

Even the poisoning of Alexey Navalny with Novichok, which we investigated with Bellingcat shortly after it happened. This was a team of many FSB

officers who followed Navalny around the country for years on more than 30 different trips, who had the lethal nerve agent Novichok and who still were

unable to kill him.

And this was the kind of thing that he would expose and he would do it with humor. He would do it with the sort of biting wit. And it was deeply

humiliating for the Kremlin. Who can take on that mantle?

There is, as you said, no one in Russia right now that we know of who is brave enough or arguably foolish enough, given the draconian -- draconian

crackdowns that we have seen.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah. Clarissa Ward, you know, it's hard to say this is a shock, but it is. He exuded an air of immortality, given the fact that he

had been poisoned with such a lethal weapon and managed to survive miraculously. We've seen him deteriorate in prison. And yet this still

comes as a real shock.

ASHER: Yeah. Survive it and then still choose to go back to Russia after that. Clarissa Ward, thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, let's bring in our Chief International Security Correspondent, Nick Paton-Walsh. Nick, obviously, all eyes are now on the

Kremlin. And we've seen Vladimir Putin speak today, notably not addressing the death of Navalny.


And yet every world leader we're expecting to hear from President Biden condemning it and putting the blame squarely on President Putin.

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, effectively, that will probably echo the comments from Kamala Harris', Vice

President here, essentially saying that while they're still looking to confirm the exact details of how this happened. That's not necessarily

suggesting they don't believe it's occurred, but they want their own separate assessment.

Whatever story Russia says, to quote Kamala Harris, it's Russia that is responsible for this. And some European leaders have gone even further

still. The President of Latvia simply saying that Navalny was murdered by the Kremlin. The President of Norway saying that the Russian government

bears a heavy responsibility for this.

And so, the narrative here very clearly pointing the finger of blame towards the Kremlin. The Kremlin have been saying how they consider that to

be ridiculous, that they still have to carry out expertise, and that so much has been leaping to conclusions by the Kremlin's critics.

But here it's had an extraordinary effect of transforming a meeting behind me, which was likely to be overshadowed by former President Trump's

comments about NATO membership, NATO alliance themselves, causing Kamala Harris' job here to essentially be reassuring European allies of the United

States that they would hang together in the event of further Russian aggression.

Now, the Russian threat has been essentially way more clearly laid bare and brought to the fore because of the horrifying death of Alexey Navalny. And

so, I think we're going to see certainly increased proclamations about the threat Russia causes.

It may force the White House potentially into some sort of response. Remember, Joe Biden did back in 2021 say that if Navalny died in prison

there would be severe consequences for Moscow.

That was before Moscow invaded Ukraine, and significantly in the months after, the U.S. tool chest for what it can do to harm Russia has been

reduced. They're even supplying weapons to Ukraine at this point.

So, a lot potentially that could still follow here. But the Ukrainians, at a moment of frankly crisis, it's fair to say, where they're not seeing

success on the front lines that they would like, using the death of Navalny, their foreign minister, to essentially remind the world that

Putin's not somebody you can negotiate with.

There have been hints that perhaps the stalemates on the front lines now might herald in some sort of diplomacy to bring the war to an end or at

least a longer freeze. But Ukraine, very clear, it doesn't want that. The U.S., very clear, it doesn't want that.

And today's death of Navalny perhaps a reminder of the brutality of the Kremlin. I should say at this point we have no independent evidence that

Navalny was killed by the Russian authorities.

But I think, certainly, even the most generous take can suggest that the most prominent Russian dissident in jail certainly wasn't having his health

and life looked after in the way the Russian government could do if their sole job was to keep him alive.

And so, yes, the meeting behind me transformed by these horrifying events up near the Arctic Circle and now Vladimir Putin's government, his regime,

its behavior in Ukraine and across Europe, very much the focus of this discussion. It was always going to be, to be honest, but there's a renewed

vigor because of the intensity of the actions over the past 24 hours.

GOLODRYGA: And also, having Navalny's wife there to speak to the crowd there, also reminding people that this is a Russia, that that is a staunch

opponent to freedom, to democracy, and obviously is continuing its pursuit of an illegal war in Ukraine. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.

We want to bring you a poignant note that Navalny had sent to his wife, Yulia, posting on social media just two days ago, which of course was

Valentine's Day. This is what it said. "Baby, everything with us is like a song. Between us there are cities, takeoff lights or airfields, blue snow

storms and thousands of kilometers. But I feel that you are near every second and I love you with all of my strength."

ASHER: Beautiful. They were a team.


ASHER: You know, she really fought hard after he was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent to get him transferred to Germany. And despite all of

the difficulty that that surrounded, I mean, they were very much united in this fight for democracy in Russia.

All right, still to come -- world leaders pay tribute to Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who has died at the age of 47, according to Russia's

prison service. Our breaking news continues after this short break.




UNKNOWN: What do you say would happen if opposition leader Alexey Navalny dies?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.


ASHER: President Biden there speaking about three years or so ago about Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, talking about what would happen

if he was killed or if he died. We now know today that he has indeed died, according to the Russian prison service.

This is video right here taken just yesterday -- just yesterday of Navalny as he appeared in a Russian court via video link. Ukraine's President spoke

earlier from Berlin. He, like many other European leaders, pointing the finger squarely at Russia.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Obviously, he was killed by Putin, like thousands of others who have been tormented, tortured because

of this one person.

Putin doesn't care who dies as long as he retains his position. And that is why he must not keep anything. Putin must lose everything. He must not

retain anything and must be held accountable for what he has done.


GOLODRYGA: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has posted this statement, saying this is terrible news.

As the fiercest advocate for Russian democracy, Alexey Navalny demonstrated incredible courage throughout his life.

ASHER: Let's get more on the international reaction to Navalny's death. Melissa Bell joins us live now from Paris. So, Melissa, Navalny was widely

seen as really the only person -- the only person who could mobilize and organize large numbers of Russians to come out in organized protests

against the Kremlin. We have German Chancellor, for example, coming out saying that he paid for that courage with his life. Just talk to us about

what the world has lost today.

MELISA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's been a lot about that. Alexei Navalny's courage, and specifically Olaf Scholz that you

mentioned, speaking about when he'd been in Berlin, finding the confirmation from the German lab results that he had indeed been poisoned,

and yet getting back on the plane and he'd be arrested as he landed in Moscow. That was at the heart of what Olaf Scholz had to say.

But other European leaders as well have been speaking about his courage. Emmanuel Macron tweeting that free souls in Russia were sent by this regime

to the Gulag. And that also echoed in the words of a lot of European leaders the nature of this regime and calls that it should face

repercussions, although it's unclear what those might be.

We've also seen, Zain, from leaders closer to the eastern parts of Europe lining up really to denounce this regime. Remember that they have been some

of the most forceful in calling for much tougher action against Russia with great fear of what might happen after Ukraine.


There's a great deal of fear in a number of countries on the eastern flank of NATO of which of them might be next over the next few years to face some

kind of provocation from Moscow.

We've heard from the Estonian leader herself just put on Moscow's wanted list, Kaja Kalas, speaking again about the nature of this regime. The

Lithuanian Prime Minister talking about the Soviet playbook by which this regime plays and again calling for those responsible to face repercussions.

But we have also in the last few moments, Zain, heard from Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, in reaction to many of these statements, many of

them have been tweeted out over the course of the day, reflecting the huge shock and outrage being felt here in Europe. Dmitry Peskov denouncing those

statements as rabid and unacceptable.

So, you can see that they are listening and watching to how the world reacts to this and to the response that's come ever so forcefully from a

united Europe, United States. Now, we're just getting here in Paris where the President Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, has just landed.

He'll be meeting with Emmanuel Macron. They had been going to discuss further aid to Ukraine, no doubt will still, but we expect them also to

address this when it comes time to the press conference.

This will be at the heart of so much, so many of the discussions that will take place in Munich over the course of the weekend and between Zelenskyy

and the French and German leaders when he meets with them.

A great deal of outrage, but also concern about what happens next. What does this mean in Russia? As you said, Zain, this was the opponent best

able to mobilize people against Putin's regime and no doubt the reason for which he paid the ultimate price.

ASHER: Absolutely. Melissa Bell, live for us there. Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: So, let's get more on the wider implications of this story.

Steve Hall is a CNN National Security Analyst and former CIA Chief of Russia operations. He joins us from Connecticut. So, Steve, words of

condemnation, even harsh ones, are one thing.

In terms of what actions in response to the death or the slow murder, you could describe, of Vladimir Putin's harshest critic and opponent, Alexey

Navalny, we've seen sanctions leveled against Russia since its illegal annexation and then obviously its full-scale invasion of Russia.

That hasn't deterred Vladimir Putin. I'm wondering from your opinion, the only thing I can think of is perhaps this could get Congress, finally push

them to send that $60 billion in aid and to pass it through legislation, that that would probably be the only and harshest stick that you could

deliver to Vladimir Putin right now.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah, precisely, Bianna. I mean, you're absolutely right. We have done, the West, the United States

has done things like, you know, sanctions, all the other things, and, of course, world leaders will and should speak out on this atrocity.

But when people in the United States and in the West ask, why are we spending or considering spending billions of dollars on, you know, fighting

a foreign war in Ukraine or some such language, this is why. This is the best response.

We need to contain and push back Russia because anybody who supports Vladimir Putin, anybody who speaks positively of him, whether it's a

journalist or whether it's, you know, people like Viktor Orban from Hungary or even in this country.

You know, Donald Trump who speaks positively and says Putin should be allowed to do whatever he wants, whatever the hell he wants in Europe. This

is what he wants. This is what he does. This is what autocrats do.

So, I agree with you. I think the best way to push back and the best answer to people who are questioning why the West is involved in Ukraine is

because we want to stand up against this sort of inhuman, you know, atrocity that Putin himself is responsible for.

Steve, it's interesting because, you know, as Alexei Navalny's fame grew over the past decade or so, more than a decade, obviously, he often said

that it would be insane, it would be stupid for the Kremlin to ever harm him because, you know, he was such an extraordinary figure just in terms of

his popularity as a Russian opposition figure.

Obviously, his calculation was wrong. And we all saw that after the Novichok poisoning just a couple of years ago. The calculation by the

Kremlin changed. Now, we don't necessarily know what the exact cause of death was at this point in time. But just walk us through your thoughts on

how ordinary Russians will respond to this.

HALL: Well, in one sense, we do know the cause of death. I mean, it's the Russian government.

ASHER: Yes, right, right.

HALL: The specifics of it will come out.

ASHER: Not the specifics. Right.

HALL: And I guarantee you that, you know, the Russian propaganda artists are already beginning to say things like, well, you know, I have pre-

existing conditions. So, they'll make up whatever story they want to. They always do.

But you put your finger on another really important thing. And I think the FSB, the Internal Security Service, as well as their sister services inside

of Russia, will be spending an anxious couple of days seeing to the extent, to what extent, that Navalny will be considered a martyr inside of Russia

and whether people will take to the streets or whether there will be other protests.


I, at the end of the day, don't think that those types of protests will be successful because the Russians, the security services, spend an inordinate

amount of effort and resources penetrating, getting inside of those opposition groups in Russia so as to render them harmless. And that's

certainly what they've done and will continue to do.

But there are always unknowns. You know, young people particularly saw the way that Navalny spoke in a very modern, direct fashion, unlike Putin, who

speaks in a very Soviet fashion.

So, will there be traction among young people inside of Russia? And what will they do and how will they be repressed? Those are all things we'll

have to be watching for in the next couple of days.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, sadly, I think the former is probably the outcome that we'll see. I think the crackdown on opposition that we've seen in the

protests has been so immense over the past few years that there's just too much of a threat and risk to Russians to take to the streets like they used

to. Steve Hall, thank you.

ASHER: All right. I want to talk now with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary General of NATO. Anders, thank you so much for being with us. I

mean, obviously, NATO and NATO allies have called for the release of Alexey Navalny for a long, long time.

Just give us your take on this. And we can talk about accountability and ways to hold Vladimir Putin accountable in just a moment. Just your initial

reaction to this news.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, FORMER SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO: Navalny has lost his liberty and his life defying Putin's brutal regime. And Navalny's death

tells a lot about Putin's Russia. No rule of law, only the rule of the ruthless.

And this is the reality to which we are condemning the Ukrainian people if Putin wins the war in Ukraine. And that's why we should step up our help to

the Ukrainians to defend their country against the reckless Russian invasion of their country.

GOLODRYGA: Anders, it was at the Munich conference in 2007 where the world saw the real change in Vladimir Putin where he publicly stated that he

longed for a multi-polar world where he spoke out negatively against the West and capitalism and democracy, really sending shockwaves.

Since then, we've seen his actions. We've seen the illegal wars he's conducted and that continue to conduct in Ukraine. There are notably some

members of Congress who were planning to be in Munich today that are no longer there and are very hesitant about sending additional aid to Ukraine.

This death of Alexey Navalny should send shockwaves and chills down their backs knowing what Vladimir Putin is capable of. Do you think that it will?

FOGH RASMUSSEN: Yeah, I hope so. I hope members of the U.S. Congress will realize that what is at stake is the basic principles upon which we have

built our societies, namely freedom and democracy.

Those values are now threatened by the autocrats led by Xi Jinping and Putin. And if we let Putin win Ukraine, it will send an extremely dangerous

message across the world to other autocrats.

Xi Jinping would conclude, if Putin can take Crimea, then I can take Taiwan. I hope members of the U.S. Congress will understand that at the end

of the day, this is also about security of the U.S.

ASHER: And I just want to quote something that Navalny said, which is, "If they decide to kill me, then it means we are incredibly strong and we need

to use that power and not give up."

You look at the lay of the land politically in Russia. Obviously, the opposition is splintered. It is divided. It has dwindled just in terms of

how strong it is at this point in time. What outlet is there for the Russian people who are questioning the Kremlin right now? What outlet is

there without Navalny at the helm of the movement?

FOGH RASMUSSEN: Well, I think any idea that we will see an internal upheaval in Russia is wishful thinking. The Russian people has been

disinformed and at least passively accept what is going on in Ukraine and elsewhere.


The opposition is suppressed. The media is controlled. And even in Putin's inner circle, it's extremely dangerous to express any kind of opposition.

So, I think we'll have to deal with Putin for a long time.

He will probably also be re-elected as President during the presidential elections in March. And even in the case that Putin might be removed one

way or the other, I think his successor will be even worse.

ASHER: All right. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, live for us there. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. All right, still to come, Alexey

Navalny spent his life exposing corruption and organizing major anti- government protests. We'll look back on his life and legacy after the break.


ASHER: All right, welcome back to ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher.

GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. Let's get back to our top story. Prominent Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has died. That is according to the

Russian prison service. Navalny was serving time on extremism charges in a remote penal colony near the Arctic Circle.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah. These are charges that he has long denied. World leaders and White House officials have been reacting to Navalny's death. U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying, quote, Russia is responsible for this. President Biden's National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, also

weighing in.



JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: If it's confirmed, it is a terrible tragedy. And given the Russian government's long and sordid

history of doing harm to its opponents, it raises real and obvious questions about what happened here.


GOLODRYGA: And for more on Navalny's life and legacy, let's bring in Ekaterina Kotrikadze, a Georgian-Russian journalist, host of the "TV Rain

Channel", which we should note was the only independent news channel in Russia until it was banned and labeled an extremist organization.

They are now operating outside of Russia in Amsterdam. And Katya joins us now. Katya, it's good to see you. I wish it was under better circumstances.

I've been watching your programming for the last couple of hours, and I just feel the emotion in you and all of your colleagues of covering Navalny

for years now and still being in shock.

One thing that stood out to me that I noted from a number of your guests is this feeling that hope is all gone now -- hope of change in Russia, hope of

a better future in Russia. That seemed to be everything that Navalny represented and that that died with him. Can you talk more about that?

EKATERINA KOTRIKADZE, NEWS DIRECTOR AND HOST, "TV RAIN": Well, first of all, thank you so much for this invitation. I really appreciate that

because it's really important to talk about Alexey Navalny and about his legacy.

And, you know, yes, there is a feeling of lost hope because Alexey Navalny was a phenomenon of Putin's Russia. This is a person who was poisoned and

there was an attempt of killing him years ago. But right after he felt better, a little bit better, he bought a ticket to Moscow. And went back to

Russia, understanding perfectly well that he would be arrested.

And, you know, during this years in jail, Alexey Navalny was posting in his social media very optimistic messages to his friends and to people -- to

Russian people. And I would not agree that, you know, that in Russia, there are only supporters of Vladimir Putin and of his war with Ukraine.

This is not true. There are millions of Russians who supported Alexey Navalny, or maybe not Alexey Navalny personally, but democracy in Russia,

who supported the future, normal future for this country and who still support the normal future and they are devastated right now.

This is a terrible tragedy that happened to all of us, because the main thing that Navalny was representing is an opportunity of having a choice.

Vladimir Putin is not --

GOLODRYGA: Kat, Kat, I'm sorry. We're going to go straight to President Biden, who's going to comment on the death of Alexey Navalny.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, like millions of people around the world, I'm literally both not surprised and outraged by the news --

reported death of Alexey Navalny. He bravely stood up to the corruption, the violence, and all the bad things the Putin government was doing.

In response, Putin had him poisoned. He had him arrested. He had him prosecuted for fabricated crimes. He was sentenced to prison. He was held

in isolation. Even all that didn't stop him from calling out Putin's lies.

Even in prison, he was a powerful voice for the truth, which is kind of amazing when you think about it. And he could have lived safely in exile

after the assassination attempt on him in 2020, which nearly killed him, I might add.

And, but he was traveling outside the country at the time. Instead, he returned to Russia. He returned to Russia, knowing he'd likely be

imprisoned or even killed if he continued his work.

But he did it anyway because he believed so deeply in his country, in Russia. Reports of his death, if they're true, and I have no reason to

believe it or not, Russian authorities are going to tell their own story.

But make no mistake. Make no mistake. Putin is responsible for Navalny's death. Putin is responsible. What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof

of Putin's brutality. No one should be fooled, not in Russia, not at home, not anywhere in the world.

Putin does not only target his citizens of other countries, as we've seen what's going on in Ukraine right now. He also inflicts terrible crimes on

his own people. And as people across Russia and around the world are mourning Navalny today because he was so many things that Putin was not.

He was brave. He was principled. He was dedicated to building a Russia where the rule of law existed and where it applied to everybody. Navalny

believed in that Russia, that Russia. He knew it was a cause worth fighting for and obviously even dying for.


This tragedy reminds us of the stakes of this moment. We have to provide the funding so Ukraine can keep defending itself against Putin's vicious

onslaughts and war crimes. You know, there was a bipartisan Senate vote that passed overwhelmingly in the United States Senate to fund Ukraine.

Now, as I've said before, and I mean this in a literal sense, history is watching. History is watching the House of Representatives. The failure to

support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten. It's going to go down in the pages of history. It really is. It's consequential. And

the clock is ticking.

And this has to happen. We have to help now. You know, we have to realize what we're dealing with-with Putin. All of us should reject the dangerous

statements made by the previous President that invited Russia to invade our NATO allies if they weren't paying up.

He said if an ally did not pay their dues, he'd encourage Russia to, quote, "Do whatever the hell they want." I guess I should clear my mind here a

little bit and not say what I'm really thinking.

But let me be clear. This is an outrageous thing for a President to say. I can't fathom. I can't fathom. From Truman on, they're rolling over their

graves hearing this. As long as I'm President, America stands by our sacred commitment to our NATO allies as they have stood by their commitments to us


Putin and the whole world should know, if any adversary were to attack us, our NATO allies would back us. And if Putin were to attack a NATO ally, the

United States will defend every inch of NATO territory. Now is the time for even greater unity among our NATO allies, to stand up to the threat that

Putin's Russia poses.

You know, I send my deepest condolences to Alexey's staff and supporters who are going to continue his work despite this loss, despite all of

Putin's desperate attempts to stamp out the opposition, and most of all to his family, especially to his wife, his daughter, and his son, who have

already sacrificed so much for their family and a shared dream for a better future for Russia.

So, I just want to say God bless Alexey Navalny. His courage will not be forgotten, and I'm sure it will not be the only courage we see coming out

of Russia in the near term. Thank you. I'll be happy to take a couple questions.

UNKNOWN: Sir, first, was this an assassination?

BIDEN: The answer is we don't know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something that Putin

and his thugs did.

UNKNOWN: And to be clear, you warned Vladimir Putin when you were in Geneva of devastating consequences if Navalny died in Russian custody. What

consequences should he and Russia face?

BIDEN: That was three years ago. In the meantime, they faced a hell of a lot of consequences. They've lost and or had wounded over 350,000 Russian

soldiers. They've made them to a position where they've been subjected to great sanctions across the board, and we're contemplating what else could

be done. But what we were talking about at the time, there were no actions being taken against Russia. And that's, look, all this transpired since


UNKNOWN: When are you looking at increasing sanctions on Russia right now?

BIDEN: We're looking at a whole number of options. That's all I'll say right now.

UNKNOWN: Is there anything you can do to get ammunition to the Ukrainians without a supplemental from Congress?

BIDEN: No, but it's about time they step up, don't you think, instead of going on a two-week vacation? Two weeks. They're walking away. Two weeks.

What are they thinking? My God, this is bizarre. And it's just reinforcing all the concern and almost, I won't say panic, but real concern about the

United States being a reliable ally. This is outrageous.

UNKNOWN: Are you more confident now that you'll get the Ukraine aid given what's happened today?

BIDEN: Well, I hope to God it helps. But I mean, the idea we need anything more to get the Ukraine aid. I mean, I mean, this is in light of a former

President's statement that saying Russia, if they even pay the dues to us, go get them. Come on. What are these guys doing? What are they doing?

UNKNOWN: Sir, how concerned are you about the anti-satellite capability that Russia is developing? And what is your administration planning to do

in response?

BIDEN: First of all, there is no nuclear threat to the people of America or anywhere else in the world with what Russia is doing at the moment --

number one. Number two, anything that they're doing and or they will do relates to satellites and space and damaging those satellites potentially.


Number three, there is no evidence that they have made a decision to go forward with doing anything in space either. So, what we found out, there

was a capacity to launch a system into space that could theoretically do something that was damaging. Hadn't happened yet. And my expectation -- my

hope is it will not.

UNKNOWN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Switching gears for a moment. Have the Israelis presented a credible evacuation plan for the

nearly one point five million displaced Palestinians sheltering in Rafah? And what would the consequences be for Israel if they move ahead with a

full scale ground invasion without clear measures to protect civilians there?

BIDEN: Well, first of all, I've had extensive conversations with the Prime Minister of Israel over the last several days, almost an hour each. And

I've made the case and I feel very strongly about it, that there has to be a temporary ceasefire to get the prisoners out, to get the hostages out.

And that is underway.

I'm still hopeful that that can be done. And in the meantime, I don't anticipate -- I'm hoping that that the Israelis will not make any massive

land invasion in the meantime. So, it's my expectation that's not going to happen. There has to be a ceasefire temporarily to get those.

I said, by the way, there are we're in a situation where there are American hostages. American citizens are being held hostage. It's not just Israelis.

It's American hostages as well.

And, you know, my hope and expectation is that we'll get this hostage deal. We'll bring the Americans home. And the deal is being negotiated now. And

we're going to see where it takes us.

UNKNOWN: An FBI informant, the center of the impeachment inquiry into you has been indicted for allegedly lying. Your reaction to that and should the

inquiry be dropped?

BIDEN: He is lying and it should be dropped. And it's just been a -- it's been an outrageous effort from the beginning. Thank you all. See you in



ASHER: All right, President Biden, they're taking other questions, but mostly speaking about the reported death of Alexey Navalny, basically

saying that he is not surprised, but that he is certainly outraged by these reports that Alexey Navalny has died. He described him as a brave and

principled opposition leader, despite everything that he was up against.

I mean, this is a man who could have lived safely in exile in Germany, but who chose upon his own volition to return to Russia knowing the

consequences. And he described it as simply more evidence of Vladimir Putin's brutality. Let's bring in Clarissa Ward and Ekaterina Kotrukadze,

as well.

Clarissa, let me start with you. Let's talk about accountability, because so many world leaders have said there needs to be accountability here. What

does that look like? The Biden administration, they're saying that they are looking at a number of options. Give us your take on that.

WARD: Well, I think President Biden knew that he was going to get the question that three years ago he had said there would be devastating

consequences if anything was to happen to Alexey Navalny in incarceration. And lo and behold, here we are in this moment.

And so, he tried to couch that by saying, well, that was three years ago when there weren't already measures being taken against Russia. Now, in the

wake of the invasion of Ukraine, we have a huge raft of measures that have been taken against Russia, both in terms of military and also sanctions,

financially punitive measures.

But I think the more broad question of accountability and whether Putin will ever see, or I should say whether Alexei Navalny will ever see

justice, as you heard his widow now, Yulia Navalnaya, are calling for, is a broader question because Putin's grip on power appears to be as strong as


GOLODRYGA: Yeah. And Ekaterina, you know, President Biden reiterated a conversation, he -- something that brought up in an earlier conversation

with Steve Hall this hour, about what real consequential steps can be taken now, perhaps not just in response to Alexey Navalny's death, but motivated

by it.

And that is Congress getting its act together and passing the $60 billion in legislation that could help go to arm Ukrainians at a time where they

are in desperate need of artillery, ammunition and more aid.


How do you think Russia is responding to these comments, the Kremlin specifically, from President Biden? And do you think they're concerned now

that this could actually drive Congress to pass legislation?

KOTRIKADZE: Well, they're obviously concerned. But if you ask me about the reactions of Russian propaganda and officials, it is funny because the

reaction is always the same, because it's always a message coming from Kremlin. So, they are all talking about right now, you know, it started

like a couple of hours ago, that this death of Alexey Navalny is not in Putin's interest.

And it's in interest of Washington, D.C., of the Western coalition. And it's in interest of the enemies of Russian President and of Russia. And of

course, they mean America as a main enemy of the Kremlin.

So, this message is spread all over the world right now, all over Russia. And, you know, it's really -- it's really outrageous. And then the cynicism

is making me crazy. But what I think is important right now is, yes, to be more decisive. Yes.

ASHER: I apologize to interrupt. We actually have to we have to run, sadly. But thank you so much for joining us. And we wish it was under

better circumstances. We appreciate you being with us.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, we'll have you back very soon. Thank you, Katya. And I'll be back at the top of the hour with Amanpour where we'll hear Hillary

Clinton's live reaction to reports of Alexey Navalny's death. ONE WORLD continues after the short break.


ASHER: All right. Alexey Navalny said he always believed his life was on the line as an outspoken critic. Recently, CNN Films and HBO produced a

documentary highlighting an assassination attempt against Navalny in 2020.

I want you to listen as the director reflects on one of the most shocking moments in the film. It's when Navalny essentially impersonates a high-

ranking Russian official to learn how exactly the Kremlin tried to kill him.


NAVALNY (through translator): Why did the Navalny operation fail?

UNKNOWN: I will gladly help but I'm home with Coronavirus.

NAVALNY: That is why I am calling you.

UNKNOWN: And what about Makshakov?


DANIEL ROHER, "NAVALNY" DOCUMENTARY EDITOR: Navalny gives a flawless performance to try and convince this guy to speak. And this poor schmo is

at home with COVID and he's out of his mind and not making the best decisions. And so he was a very vulnerable target for Navalny.

And then out of the corner of my eye, quite suddenly, I realize Maria, who's Navalny's chief investigator, she is noticing something. And I watch

as her jaw unhinges and hits the floor.

UNKNOWN (through translator): We did it just as planned, the way we rehearsed it many times.


ASHER: That was an incredible part of that documentary when he essentially impersonates somebody who was in on the plan to try to kill him, to try to

find out more information about how exactly the operation went wrong.

He, of course, ended up leaving Russia after he was -- the attempted poisoning with Novichok. He went to Germany and then, as we've been

speaking about throughout the show, he chose to go back to Russia after that, despite the assassination attempt against him, despite knowing the

fact that it was likely that he could be putting his life in jeopardy.

Alexey Navalny, once again, dead at the age of 47. Tributes have been pouring in from across the world. All right, that does it for this hour of

ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. Our breaking news coverage of Alexey Navalny's death continues next.