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Russian authorities to detain Kremlin critic Navalny for 30 days, spokesperson says

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny rides on a bus from a plane to a terminal of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on January 17, 2021.


Russian authorities have detained opposition politician Alexei Navalny in custody for 30 days, his spokesperson said Monday.

It comes shortly after he was arrested upon arrival at a Moscow airport. It was the first time he had returned to the country since he was poisoned last summer.

Russian authorities arrested Navalny on Sunday evening soon after his flight from Berlin, Germany landed in the country’s capital city. His detention had been ordered by Moscow’s prison service in relation to alleged violations of a suspended prison sentence.

In a video posted on Twitter by Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, he was shown complaining about the absurdity of a makeshift court hearing at Khimki police station, near Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. “It doesn’t get more lawless than this,” he said, according to an NBC translation.

The United Nations, government officials and rights advocacy groups have all called on Russia to immediately release Navalny, while some countries have pushed for possible sanctions. In response, Moscow said Navalny’s case had received “artificial” resonance in the West.

Navalny is widely regarded as the most prominent and determined critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 44-year-old activist had been recovering in Germany after narrowly surviving what has since been independently confirmed as poisoning by a Novichok nerve agent on August. 20.

Navalny has said he believes Putin ordered the poisoning to go ahead, reportedly commenting in October last year that he does not see any other explanation.

Putin’s government denies poisoning Navalny, though investigative reporters have since published evidence to support Navalny’s claims.

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