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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Canada Summons Russian Ambassador Over Navalny’s Death

Canada has called in the Russian ambassador in Ottawa to deliver a strong rebuke regarding the reported death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny while in Russian custody, according to Global Affairs Canada.

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly summoned Ambassador Oleg Stepanov to convey Canada’s condemnation of the situation. Navalny, who was serving a 19-year sentence in an Arctic penal colony, reportedly fell ill and lost consciousness during a walk, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, as stated by Russia’s prison agency.

President Vladimir Putin was swiftly implicated in Navalny’s death, leading leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pledge accountability for Russia’s actions.

A senior Canadian official communicated the country’s “strong condemnation” to Ambassador Stepanov, urging the Russian government to conduct a thorough and transparent inquiry into Navalny’s death and promptly release his body to his family. The official also expressed concern for other political prisoners in Russia, emphasizing the need for protecting, rather than punishing, Russian citizens mourning Navalny’s loss.

Also Read: Jaishankar: Europe, China Views Differ, Parallel to India-Russia Ties

Navalny considered a symbol of hope for the Russian people, has garnered international attention, leading Canada to impose sanctions on those involved in human rights abuses against him. The country is committed to joining its allies in holding accountable those responsible for Navalny’s death.

In response to critical comments from Canadian officials, Russia’s embassy urged Canada to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs, asserting that the death of a Russian citizen is solely Russia’s concern.

Despite Russian authorities claiming the cause of Navalny’s death is unknown and withholding his body for further investigation, Navalny’s team accuses the government of stalling to conceal evidence. Navalny’s widow, Yulia, released a video accusing Putin of her husband’s murder, alleging a cover-up related to the refusal to release his body.

Navalny’s death has dealt a significant blow to the Russian opposition just before an upcoming election expected to extend Putin’s presidency. The aftermath has seen widespread detentions of individuals attempting to pay tribute to Navalny, with over 75,000 people requesting the government release Navalny’s remains to his family.

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