US and European leaders call for the release of Russia's most prominent opposition leader

Monday, 18 January 2021 - 21:43

Russia's most prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been arrested and detained for 30 days, after returning to Moscow for the first time since he was poisoned last year.

US and European leaders have led calls for his release.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russian authorities were trying to silence their critics, while incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the Kremlin's "attacks on Navalny are not just a violation of human rights, but an affront to the Russian people who want their voices heard".

France, Italy, Germany and the president of the European Commission were also among those calling for his release.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described Navalny's arrest as "appalling".

"Rather than persecuting Navalny, Russia should explain how a chemical weapon came to be used on Russian soil," he said.