Biden Says There Will Be Consequences If Alexei Navalny Dies In Prison

( )- The long-awaited summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin finally happened this week.

One of the big takeaways from it was a not-so-subtle threat from Biden to his Russian counterpart that there would be consequences to pay for certain actions. One of those is if Alexey Navalny, an opposition leader in Russia, were to die while in prison.

While he didn’t outline specific actions he would take if that were to happen, Biden did say:

“I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.

“What do you think happens when he’s saying it’s not about hurting Navalny, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny, and then he dies in prison? … It’s about trust. It’s about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way.”

The United States believes that Russian security services poisoned Navalny last year, according to the State Department. The opposition leader got sick when he was taking a flight to Moscow, and he eventually went into a coma.

Eventually, Navalny was taken to Berlin after he was hospitalized. While he was getting medical care in Germany, though, the Russia Federal Penitentiary Service said Navalny violated his probation by not showing up for inspections that were scheduled.

When he returned to Russia in February, he was sentenced to prison. He’s still there to this day.

In the spring, Navalny went on a hunger strike in protest of the refusal of prison officials to allow him to get proper medical care. Some of his supporters have said that his health has deteriorated while he’s been in prison. Navalny’s legal team also said his poor health is being exacerbated by “torture by sleep deprivation.”

Biden said he broached the subject of human rights on an extensive basis during his summit with Putin in Geneva, Switzerland. He explained:

“I also told him that no president of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values, to stand up for the universal and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have in our view.”

The president said he discussed “concerns” he had specifically about Navalny. He also discussed two American citizens who are imprisoned, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan.

For his part, Putin responded to questions about Russia’s crackdown on supporters of Navalny’s by comparing it to the Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations going on in the United States. He said:

“We sympathize with what is happening in the states, but we do not wish that to happen in Russia … This man knew that he was breaking the law of Russia. He has been twice convicted.

“He consciously ignored the requirements of the law. The gentleman in question went abroad for treatment. As soon as he went to the hospital, he showed his videos on the internet … He wanted consciously to break the law. He did exactly what he wanted to do. So, what kind of discussion can we be having (about him)?