President Biden meets Alexei Navalny's widow and daughter

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Biden meets Yulia and Dasha NavalnayaImage source, The White House
Image caption,
President Biden held a private meeting with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya in a San Francisco hotel room

Joe Biden has held a private meeting with the widow and daughter of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died in an Arctic prison last week.

After the meeting with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya in California, the US president wrote that Navalny's "legacy of courage will live on" in them.

A prominent critic of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny died suddenly while out for a walk, the prison service said.

But his wife believes the Russian president ordered her husband's death.

Several world leaders have also directly blamed Vladimir Putin for Navalny's death, and Thursday's meeting came as the US prepared to announce a new raft of sanctions against Russia.

Photos released by the White House showed Mr Biden hugging Yulia, and talking with her and Dasha in a hotel room in San Francisco.

Afterwards, he told reporters that Ms Navalnaya is "going to continue the fight... She's not giving up".

Image source, The White House

The new round of sanctions - against some 500 individuals and companies - will be the biggest tranche since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago, the White House said.

National security spokesman John Kirby said the package of new measures were in response to what happened to Navalny.

The Kremlin has denied allegations that Navalny was murdered in prison, calling the West's reaction to his death "hysterical".

In a video posted on YouTube, Navalny's mother Lyudmila Navalnaya said she was being threatened by the authorities over her son's burial.

"Looking into my eyes, they say that if I do not agree to a secret funeral, they will do something with my son's body."

There was no immediate response from Russian officials.