Putin and Biden
Putin and BidenReuters

US President Joe Biden on Friday directly blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the reported death in prison of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, AFP reported.

Saying he was "outraged," Biden said he did not yet know exactly what had happened to 47-year-old Navalny, but that it was the fault of Putin and his "thugs."

"Make no mistake, Putin is responsible for Navalny's death," Biden said in televised remarks from the White House.

"What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin's brutality. No one should be fooled," he added.

Biden said he was "looking at a whole number of options" on how to respond but did not go further.

The President added Navalny's death showed the need for Republicans in the US House to stop blocking a multi-billion-dollar war aid package for faltering Ukraine.

"This tragedy reminds us of the stakes of this moment," he said. "We have to provide the funding so Ukraine can keep defending itself against Putin's vicious onslaught and war crimes."

Vice President Kamala Harris called reports of Navalny’s death “terrible news,” and added that “Russia is responsible.”

“We’ve all just received reports that Alexey Navalny has died in Russia. This is, of course, terrible news, which we are working to confirm,” Harris said.

“If confirmed, this would be a further sign of Putin’s brutality. Whatever story they tell, let us be clear: Russia is responsible,” she added.

Navalny, one of Putin's most prominent critics, was arrested in January of 2021 for alleged parole violations after returning from Germany, where he had been recovering from being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.

He was later sentenced by a Russian court to a three-and-a-half-year sentence, though his lawyer said he would serve only two years and eight months in jail because of time he has already spent under house arrest.

In March of 2021, Navalny launched a hunger strike to protest the authorities’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains. He subsequently ended the hunger strike on the advice of his doctors.

In August, a Russian court convicted Navalny on charges of extremism and sentenced him to 19 years in prison.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)