The U.S. State Department has condemned the arrest of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny by Russian authorities and has urged for his immediate release as U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo stated.
“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. Confident political leaders do not fear competing voices, nor commit violence against or wrongfully detain political opponents,” the message reads.
He urged the government of Russia to provide equal conditions for all political parties and candidates seeking to participate in the election process.
Moreover, Pompeo demanded from Russia ‘urgently and unconditionally’ release the oppositionist.
As we reported earlier, Navalny returned to Russia on January 17. Officers of the search department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia detained him right after his plane landed in Moscow.
It is worth noting that he has been on the country's federal wanted list since December 29, 2020, for repeated violations of the probationary period - Navalny is currently sentenced to conditional punishment.
Prior to that, the politician stayed in Germany, being treated at Charite clinic and recovering from the poisoning by Novichok nerve agent in August 2020. The Russian law enforcers prosecute Navalny for "evading control measures", as he is the defendant in the Yves-Rocher case (2014). Navalny himself calls the case trumped-up and politically motivated.
Watch review of Year 2020 here: