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Shaheen, Risch and Bipartisan Group of Senators Issue Joint Statement on Death of Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny

(Munich, Germany) - U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jim Risch (R-ID) led a bipartisan group of Senators, all of whom are currently participating in the Munich Security Conference, in a joint statement following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Joining Shaheen and Risch were U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mark Warner (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA): 

“We are saddened and deeply disturbed by reports of Alexei Navalny’s death. While we await confirmation on what happened, it appears that his death further confirms what we have known for a long time: Putin is a murderous dictator willing to commit crimes against humanity, even if the victims of his terror are his own people.   

“It is clear that Vladimir Putin fears the voices of those who oppose him and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to silence them. Alexei was imprisoned for doing just that—for daring to oppose Putin’s autocratic regime and for speaking out for freedom and standing up for democracy.  

“Alexei’s tragic death under suspect circumstances is devastating, but his legacy must live on. His sacrifice for a better, freer future for the Russian people cannot be in vain. It cannot be stated enough – it did not need to happen.  We extend our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time. The international community mourns with you and will continue to stand with you. 

“The fact that Putin feels emboldened enough to commit this crime should be a signal to the international community that we must do more to stop him. The United States must continue to support democracy fighters in Russia, Ukraine and all across the world as they fight back against Putin’s evil regime. He must be stopped.”