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Incoming national security adviser calls for immediate release of Kremlin critic Navalny

Incoming national security adviser calls for immediate release of Kremlin critic Navalny
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE's national security adviser, Jake SullivanJake SullivanA Biden stumble on China? Iran, hostages and déjà vu — Biden needs to do better Biden to detail 'roadmap' for partnership with Canada in meeting with Trudeau MORE, called on the Kremlin to free Russian dissident Alexei Navalny on Sunday after Navalny was detained almost immediately upon his return to the country.

In a tweet, Sullivan wrote that the assassination attempt on Navalny last year was an "outrageous attack" and said that Navalny should be "immediately released."

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The Russian opposition leader was taken into custody Sunday upon arriving in 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 PutinWray hints at federal response to SolarWinds hack Kremlin: Musk invitation to Putin to chat on Clubhouse 'some kind of misunderstanding' Biden to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning, jailing MORE.

The State Department last year determined the poisoning had been carried out by Russia's security service. Putin and the Kremlin have denied the allegation.

Navalny was reportedly arrested on charges he had violated of the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement. Navalny, his supporters and the European High Court have condemned the embezzlement case as a political prosecution. 

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Sullivan, who has advised the incoming president-elect since at least November when he was named to the post, will be one of the youngest people ever to serve in the position of White House national security adviser. He previously served as a lead negotiator between the U.S. and Iran during the Obama administration.

Navalny said in an Instagram post last week that threats of his arrest were an attempt by Putin to discourage his return.

“Putin is stamping his feet demanding to do everything so that that I don’t return home,” Navalny said Wednesday. “The people who tried to kill me got offended because I survived and now they are threatening to put me behind bars.”