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Alexei Navalny, pictured here at a rally in 2020, was President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic

Alexei Navalny’s mother has been told to agree to a “secret” burial for the Putin critic within three hours, his spokeswoman says.

If Lyudmila Navalnaya did not agree, he would be buried at the prison where he died a week ago, the spokeswoman said a Russian investigator had told her.

On Thursday, Ms Navalnaya said she was made to sign a death certificate saying her son died of natural causes.

Mr Navalny’s widow has said he was killed by Russian authorities.

The Kremlin has denied the allegations, calling Western reaction to the death “hysterical”.

Mr Navalny died in a prison colony in the Arctic Circle on 16 February. Prison officials said he had fallen ill following a “walk”.

But Yulia Navalnaya has claimed that he was killed on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and vowed to continue his struggle.

Separately, Mr Navalny’s team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) in reward and assistance in leaving Russia in exchange for information about the Russian opposition leader’s death in prison.

On Thursday US President Joe Biden met Mr Navalny’s widow Yulia and his daughter Dasha Navalnaya in San Francisco.

“The president expressed his admiration for Alexei Navalny’s extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption and for a free and democratic Russia,” the White House said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden said Navalny’s “legacy of courage will live on” through his widow Yulia (right) and daughter Dasha

A day later, the US announced more than 500 new sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and Mr Navalny’s death.

These include measures against Russia’s main card payment system, financial and military institutions, and officials involved in Navalny’s imprisonment.

The EU has also announced new sanctions on access to military technology.

For years Mr Navalny was most high-profile critic of the Russian leader.

In August 2020, the former opposition leader was poisoned using the Novichok nerve agent by a team of would-be assassins from the Russian secret services.

Airlifted to Germany, he recovered there before returning to Russia in January 2021, where he was imprisoned.

Attempts at commemorating his death have been met by a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with makeshift monuments cleared and hundreds arrested.

Watch: Navalny’s moments of defiance as Putin’s fiercest critic

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