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The Hill
The Hill
17 Feb 2024
Lauren Irwin


NextImg:Bolton pushes back on White House rhetoric around Navalny death: ‘It encourages Russia’

John Bolton, former national security adviser, pushed back on the Biden administration’s rhetoric about the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and said blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin just “encourages Russia.”

The Russian Federal Prison Service said Friday that Navalny, who was jailed for extremism in the country’s highest security prison, was dead. In remarks from the White House, President Biden blamed Putin for Navalny’s death. What happened to him is “more proof of Putin’s brutality,” Biden said.

Navalny’s death is a tragic event demonstrating Putin’s strength, not his weakness, Bolton argued during a Friday interview on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert”.

The news of Navalny’s death comes as the war between Russia and Ukraine nears its two-year anniversary. Bolton argued sanctions the U.S. and Europe have put on Russia “have not stopped the Russian economy” as intended. He added that while the Russians have suffered casualties in the war, the country does not worry about it because it doesn’t “have the same calculus on the value of human life as we do.”

“But this is just the way the Russians fight,” Bolton said. “So, if Biden’s rhetoric just continues at this level, it encourages Russia. It’s part of the proof that they can commit this kind of murder and get away with it.”

Bolton continued, arguing that he thinks Biden is a “weak president” because the administration has reiterated that it is “afraid of a wider war,” both with Russia and the growing conflict in the Middle East.

As Biden also weighs his decisions against his reelection efforts, Bolton argued neither Biden nor Trump, the likely nominees for each party, are “acceptable as president,” based on their national security and foreign policy decisions.

NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.