US and EU Condemned Navalny's Arrest
Russian dissident Alexei Navalny's detention upon arrival at a Moscow airport is an attempt to silence him and other critical voices in Russia, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday evening.
The United States strongly condemns Russia’s decision to arrest Aleksey Navalny. We note with grave concern that his detention is the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures and independent voices who are critical of Russian authorities, Pompeo said in a statement.
The opposition leader was travelling home after spending five months in Germany, where he received emergency medical treatment following his poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok.
Russian authorities accuse Navalny of breaking the terms of a suspended sentence and probation. Corrections authorities are therefore seeking to transfer those into a jail sentence.
Pompeo's statement came hours after a call for Navalny's release by the team of US President-elect Joe Biden.
"Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable," said Jake Sullivan, who will serve as Biden's national security adviser if confirmed by the Senate.
"The Kremlin's attacks on Mr. Navalny are not just a violation of human rights, but an affront to the Russian people who want their voices heard."
The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said it was following the situation "with the utmost vigilance" as it called for Navalny's release.
European Council President Charles Michel and EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell earlier also condemned the dissident's arrest and called for his release.
The EU officials' words were repeated by Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in a joint statement late on Sunday, which demanded his immediate release.
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