UK weighs up response in wake of Navalny death

Lord Cameron signalled that there could be fresh sanctions against Russia officials, following the death of Alexei Navalny.

The Foreign Secretary joined other G7 ministers at the Munich Security Conference in calling on Russia to “fully clarify” how the jailed opposition leader died, amid pressure on Western leaders to respond.

According to the Times, Lord Cameron used the German gathering to repeat the UK’s call for countries to seize Russian central bank assets currently held in the West as one way of financing the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Labour has said it would back any Government response in the wake of Mr Navalny’s death.

It comes as the second anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches, marked by confirmation that Vladimir Putin’s forces have taken complete control of the frontline city of Avdiivka.

Lord Cameron visits Sofia
Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron met fellow ministers at the Munich Security Conference (Stoyan Nenov/PA)

“There should be consequences,” the Foreign Secretary told broadcasters on Saturday.

“When appalling human rights outrages like this take place, what we do is we look at whether there are individual people that are responsible and whether there are individual measures and actions we can take.

“We don’t announce them in advance, so I can’t say anymore than that.

“But that is what we will be looking at.”

It comes as Mr Navalny’s spokesperson confirmed that the Russian opposition leader died at a remote Arctic penal colony and said he was “murdered”.

But it remains unclear where his body is.

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Mr Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Mr Navalny’s mother had been told by prison officials that her son had perished due to “sudden death syndrome” when she arrived at his former penal colony on Saturday with one of the politician’s lawyers.

When a lawyer and Mr Navalny’s mother visited the mortuary in Salekhard, it was closed, Mr Navalny’s team wrote on its Telegram channel.

The lawyer called the mortuary and was told that Mr Navalny’s body is not there, his team said.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy told the BBC on Sunday Labour would try to “plug” gaps in the current sanctions regime if it wins power.

“I remain concerned about the dirty money that continues to flow through London, I remain concerned that the full implementation of the Russia report following the interference in our elections and the work of our select committee have not been fully implemented.

“So yes, I think there are gaps and if we are successful, when the general election is held, I intend to plug those gaps,” he told the Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday, with the death of Mr Navalny raised in the conversation alongside aid for Ukraine.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Ahead of the second anniversary of Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, they underscored the importance of providing continuing support to the Ukrainian people.

“The Prime Minister welcomed the recent announcement that the EU will provide 50 billion euro support to Ukraine, and outlined the work the UK is doing through our security cooperation agreement.

“The Prime Minister and President Von der Leyen expressed their outrage at the death of Alexei Navalny, and underscored the utmost importance of holding those responsible within the Russian system to account.”

Mr Zelensky, who is struggling to convince Republican lawmakers in Washington to facilitate a major funding package for Kyiv, said Putin “kills whoever he wants”.

“After the murder of Alexei Navalny, it’s absurd to perceive Putin as a supposedly legitimate head of a Russian state and he is a thug who maintains power through corruption and violence,” he said.

He explicitly warned attendees in Munich that a lack of long-range weapons is limiting the country’s fightback.

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