Kremlin critic Navalny detained in Moscow upon return to Russia

Kremlin critic Navalny detained in Moscow upon return to Russia
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Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained on Sunday upon returning to Moscow from Berlin, where he was recovering from an almost-fatal poisoning that Navalny and his supporters say had been ordered by Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinWest's 'wokeness' helped Russia to redefine a 'prisoner of conscience' For better or worse: Which way will US-Saudi relations go under Biden? How to rethink Russia sanctions MORE.

Russian officials had warned Navalny that he had violated the terms of a previous suspended sentence by not returning from Germany earlier and the country's prison service said it detained Navalny and would hold him in custody pending a court hearing.

Putin and the Kremlin have denied the Russian president had anything to do with poisoning Navalny.


Navalny had initially been set to land at Vnukovo Airport, which officials had closed to press and other arriving planes. However, he instead touched down at Sheremetyevo Airport, briefly spoke with press and turned himself into officers at passport control, according to Axios.

Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson for Navalny, said in a tweet Sunday that she had been given no information about where Navalny is and how long he will be detained.

Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Lawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Sunday that "The US & our allies must stand together & loudly state this isn't acceptable.”


Navalny took ill five months ago on a flight to Siberia and was transferred to a Berlin hospital, which said he had been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

After his release from the hospital, Moscow said that unless Navalny returned immediately, he would be in violation of the terms of the 2014 suspended sentence for an embezzlement conviction. Navalny and international observes have said the embezzlement conviction was politically motivated.

While the Kremlin denied any culpability in Navalny’s hospitalization, the opposition leader recorded a conversation in December with an FSB agent who seemingly outlined how Navalny had been poisoned by applying the toxin to the inseam of his underpants. Moscow denied the conversation confirmed they ordered his poisoning.

Navalny’s arrest came a day after Pavel Zelensky, a political ally of Navalny’s, was detained by Russian officials on charges of promoting extremism online.