Nobel laureate calls Navalny’s death ‘murder’ as Zelenskiy meets Merkel

Nobel laureate calls Navalny’s death ‘murder’ as Zelenskiy meets Merkel

The death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in prison has sparked international outrage and condemnation, with a Nobel Peace Prize winner calling it “murder” and accusing the Kremlin of being responsible.

Dmitry Muratov, the editor of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and the 2021 Nobel laureate, told Reuters on Friday that Navalny’s death was a result of the harsh prison conditions and the lack of medical care that he received.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of Alexei Navalny, on Saturday. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

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“Navalny is one of the most talented and courageous people in Russia. That is precisely the reason he had to die,” Muratov said.


Navalny, who was arrested in January 2024 after returning from Germany where he had been treated for a nerve agent poisoning, died on Friday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest, according to the prison service.

His death came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived in Germany for a European tour aimed at rallying support for his country amid the ongoing war with Russia.

Zelenskiy met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, where they discussed the security situation in eastern Ukraine, the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

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The only exception was the northern province of Hebei, which had a recent outbreak and imposed a lockdown on its capital, Shijiazhuang

Zelenskiy also thanked Merkel for her role in facilitating the release of 11 Ukrainian prisoners from Russian captivity earlier this week, and expressed his hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“We are grateful to Germany for its consistent support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for its assistance in the humanitarian and economic spheres,” Zelenskiy said.

Merkel, who is stepping down as chancellor later this year, reiterated her commitment to Ukraine’s European integration and praised Zelenskiy’s efforts to reform the country.

She also said that Germany would continue to press Russia to respect the ceasefire and withdraw its troops from the border, and to cooperate with the OSCE monitoring mission.

“We are very concerned about the escalation of violence and the humanitarian situation in the Donbas region. We call on Russia to abide by the agreements that it has signed and to engage in a constructive dialogue with Ukraine,” Merkel said.

The meeting between Zelenskiy and Merkel came amid reports of a new wave of Russian attacks on Ukrainian positions and civilian infrastructure, using drones, cruise missiles, and long-range air defence systems.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, 14 out of 17 drones and one Kh-59 cruise missile launched by Russia overnight were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence systems.

The remaining drones and missiles hit targets in the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions, causing damage to buildings and power lines, but no casualties.

The Ukrainian military also accused Russia of using terminals of Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink in the occupied areas, and released an intercepted conversation between two Russian soldiers as evidence.

Starlink denied selling terminals to Russia or operating its network in the country, and said it was unaware of any third parties doing so.

Meanwhile, the US Senate moved closer to passing a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, despite opposition from some Republicans and former President Donald Trump.

The bill, which would provide $61 billion in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, cleared a procedural hurdle on Sunday and moved towards a final vote.

It would then have to go to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to face further resistance from Trump loyalists.

The bill has been welcomed by Zelenskiy, who said it would bring a “just peace” closer, and by other European leaders, who have urged the US to act swiftly and decisively to deter Russian aggression.


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