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Brussels demands the “immediate release” of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny

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Returned Sunday to Russia, the opponent of Vladimir Putin has been arrested and kept in detention since. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, announced that he telephoned the Russian president on Friday to demand his “immediate release”.

The European Union has “serious concerns” about the fate of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, announced that he telephoned President Vladimir Poutine on Friday 22 January to demand the “immediate release” of the opponent.

Charles Michel also called for “full and unconditional respect for the rights” of Alexei Navalny. The opponent was arrested on Sunday on his arrival in Russia from Germany where he had been treated following poisoning with a nerve agent. The EU has sanctioned several members of the Russian president’s entourage implicated in the assassination attempt.

After a brief stint in court on Monday, Alexeï Navalny was kept in detention.

>> To read also: “Alexeï Navalny or the path strewn with pitfalls of an anti-corruption activist”

Charles Michel, head of the body representing the Twenty-Seven, took the initiative to contact the Russian president the day after a European summit in order to renew the demand of the EU leaders for an immediate release of the Russian opponent. Several Member States and the European Parliament are demanding the adoption of new European sanctions.

Strategic debate in March

EU foreign ministers are due to start thinking on Monday about the measures to be adopted to support the Russian opponent’s requests for release. But no decision should be taken at this meeting, organized by videoconference because of the pandemic, a diplomatic source said.

Charles Michel informed Vladimir Poutine of the decision to convene “a strategic debate on EU-Russia relations” at the European summit in March.

With AFP

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