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China reacts to death of Navalny

The activist’s passing is “Russia’s internal affair,” Beijing has said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has declined to comment on the death of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny before medical examiners have determined the exact cause of death, saying Moscow can handle its own domestic matters without foreign interference.

“This is Russia’s internal affair. I will not comment,” the ministry’s spokesperson said in response to a question by AFP news agency on Saturday.

The reaction was immediately criticized by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who accused Beijing of backing Moscow.

“Today we had the statement from the Chinese foreign minister saying that the death of Navalny is an ‘internal Russian issue.’ Well, it’s not an internal Russian issue” Stoltenberg told reporters at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, while blaming the Russian government for Navalny’s death.

“Beijing is watching closely the war in Ukraine. And what happens in Ukraine today can happen in Asia tomorrow. And the more successful Putin is in Ukraine, the more likely it is that [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] will use force against Taiwan,” he added.

Navalny, 47, first rose to prominence as a far-right activist. He passed away in a penal colony in Yamalo-Nenets Region on Friday while serving a 19-year prison sentence for offenses related to “extremism” and rehabilitation of Nazi ideology.

The exact cause of death remains unclear, although a source for RT Russian suggested it was a blood clot. The Kremlin has said that medical professionals are looking into the matter.

Numerous Western leaders were quick to suggest that the Kremlin bears responsibility for his passing, describing Navalny as an “opposition leader” for his participation in anti-government protests.

On Saturday, Moscow’s envoy to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said the US reaction to Navalny’s death was “another attempt to interfere in the internal policy of the Russian Federation,” describing the barrage of accusations as a “flow of bile.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Friday that Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service is taking all necessary steps to investigate the death of Navalny, while cautioning Western leaders against making “rabid statements.”

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Source:RT News

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