Moscow Denounces US For ‘Gross Interference’ In Russia’s Internal Affairs
By Staff, Agencies
Moscow called on Washington to end its “gross interference” in Russia’s domestic affairs after the US secretary of state accused Russian authorities of using “harsh tactics” against protesters demanding the release of Western-backed opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on its official Facebook and Twitter pages on Sunday a few hours after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he alleged was “the persistent use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists by Russian authorities” and called on the Russian government “to release those detained” on humanitarian grounds.
Navalny, 45, was taken ill on a domestic flight on August 20 last year. He was later transported to a German capital, where he was hospitalized with alleged poisoning.
His aides, as well as the German government and some Western countries, had already claimed he had been poisoned before the domestic Russian flight, blaming Moscow.
Moscow has repeatedly rejected the allegations, saying the West is exploiting the case for political reasons and using it as a pretext to impose more sanctions against Russia.
Upon returning to Russia on January 17, Navalny was detained and a court hearing in Khimki police station near Moscow demanded he be remanded in custody, meaning that he will be detained for 30 days from the day of his arrest awaiting trial.
The opposition figure is accused of breaking the terms of his probation, following a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence he received in 2014. That conviction relates to a fraud case involving the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher, which he claims was politically motivated.
Since his detention, Navalny has called on Russians to fill the streets across the country against the government of President Vladimir Putin. The call has drawn tens of thousands of people to the streets in Russia, demanding his release.
Police have described all protests as unauthorized while an investigation is underway into violence committed by both protesters and law enforcement. Thousands of protesters have reportedly been arrested so far.