President Biden meets with Alexei Navalny's widow and daughter during California trip

WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden met Thursday with the widow and daughter of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died last week under mysterious circumstances while in custody.

For years, Navalny was one of the most fervent outspoken voices in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Biden met with Yulia Navalnaya, Alexei's window, and daughter Dasha Navalnaya in San Francisco to "express his heartfelt condolences," the White House said.

"The president expressed his admiration for Alexei Navalny’s extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption and for a free and democratic Russia in which the rule of law applies equally to everyone," the White House said.

This photo released by Yulia Navalnaya Twitter channel on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's wife Yulia, left, and his daughter Daria Navalnaya posing for a selfie somewhere in US.
This photo released by Yulia Navalnaya Twitter channel on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's wife Yulia, left, and his daughter Daria Navalnaya posing for a selfie somewhere in US.

Biden told the family that Alexei Navalny's legacy "will carry on through people across Russia and around the world mourning his loss and fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights."

Biden also reaffirmed his intention to impose "major new sanctions" on Russia in response to Navalny's death. The Biden administration is expected to unveil the sanctions Friday.

Biden is in California for a three-day campaign fundraising swing. Dasha Navalnaya is a student at Stanford University in California.

Biden has blamed Putin for Navalny's death, but the U.S. has not determined a cause.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, Navalny's mother, said Thursday she has seen Navalny's body and is being pressured by Russian authorities to hold a private funeral for her son.

Yulia Navalnaya issued a defiant statement on video Monday, saying she would continue the work of her late husband.

"What we need is a free, peaceful and happy Russia. The wonderful Russia of the future my husband so dreamed of," Navalnaya said in the video, in which she accuses Putin of orchestrating her husband's death.

"That’s what we need," she continued. "That is the country I want to live in and for our children to grow up in. That’s the country I want to build together with you. The country Alexei Navalny imagined."

President Joe Biden arrives to speak during an event to announce that his Administration has approved $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers at the Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, California, on February 21, 2024.
President Joe Biden arrives to speak during an event to announce that his Administration has approved $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers at the Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, California, on February 21, 2024.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden meets with Alexei Navalny's widow and daughter