Navalny’s Death Spurs Demands for Accountability, Increased Ukraine Aid on Capitol Hill


After the announcement of Alexei Navalny’s death in prison, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have pledged to hold Russian president Vladimir Putin responsible.

In a statement released on Friday, Speaker Mike Johnson stated that “as international leaders meet in Munich, it is important to be clear that Putin’s actions will be met by unified opposition.” As Congress discusses how to best support Ukraine, we, along with our partners, need to use every tool available to stop Putin from funding his unprovoked aggression against the Baltic States and war in Ukraine.

Johnson has so far refused to take up a Senate-passed measure that would provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine during its ongoing war against Moscow.

Other Republican hawks have echoed the call for accountability of the Russian leader.

“Putin’s a murderous and paranoid dictator,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. on X. “History won’t be kind to Americans who apologize for Putin and praise Russian authoritarianism. The history will not be kind to America’s leaders who remain silent out of fear that online pundits might criticize them.

Delegates from the Democratic Party have, however, reiterated their calls for sending an aid package to Ukraine.

In a recent post on X, Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania said that “House Members blocking critical aid for Ukraine can enjoy another high-five from Putin who has just killed his most vocal critic.”

Hakeem Jeffries, the Minority Leader of the House, slammed Republicans who blocked aid to Ukraine.

He wrote: “Shame to the pro-Putin MAGA extremes who continue blocking bipartisan national legislation in the House,”

When lamenting the death of Navalny, a prominent Republican foreign policy leader did not mention Ukraine aid.

In a statement, Texas Rep. Mike McCaul (chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) said that if confirmed, Alexei Navalny’s death is a tragedy. “He is the voice of a better Russia in the face of Putin’s brutality and corruption.” The Kremlin should be held responsible for this atrocity.”

According to the federal prison services, Navalny passed away in prison Friday at the young age of 47. Navalny was the leading opposition figure in Russia for many years and the only one who could mobilize Russians into organized protests against Kremlin.

Navalny died after the Senate passed a $95 billion bill for international assistance on Tuesday, which included aid to Ukraine. Johnson has promised that the Senate version will not be voted on in the lower chamber, but instead the House will “work their own will.”

Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) Navalny’s demise “underscores Putin’s brutal authoritarian regime.”

The death of @navalny was tragic. Keating wrote in a X post that the death of @navalny underscores Putin’s brutal authoritarian regime and the dangers involved.

Harris on Navalny: ‘Russia’s responsible’

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a mass murdering war criminal.” He also said that Donald Trump’s former administration “has encouraged Putin to attack America’s allies while republicans block aid to Ukraine.”

In a blog post, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California said that “Putin kills Navalny in the same week Donald Trump invited Russia to invade Europe while MAGA Mike Johnson blocked aid to Ukraine.” This isn’t just a coincidence. It’s the green-light Putin was given.

Some Republicans who are more on the isolationist side of foreign policy have indicated that they will focus their attentions domestically.

J.D. wrote: “Perhaps, I’m more passionate about what’s happening in America because it’s home. Not because I think it’s worse than Russia, or any other country. But because it’s mine.” Vance (R – Ohio), a possible vice presidential choice for former president Donald Trump, posted a message on X.