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US says ‘strongly condemns’ arrest of Kremlin critic Navalny

Published on January 18, 2021

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday the United States “strongly condemns” the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained when returning to Russia for the first time since his poisoning last summer.

“The United States strongly condemns Russia’s decision to arrest Aleksey Navalny,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“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.”

Navalny was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport less than an hour after he flew in from Germany, where he had been recovering from the poisoning with a nerve agent he says was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

The US joined the European Union in condemning the move, with Pompeo saying that “Navalny is not the problem. We demand his immediate and unconditional release.”

“Confident political leaders do not fear competing voices, nor commit violence against or wrongfully detain political opponents,” he added.