Washington (US): The US State Department is calling for the immediate release of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny who was detained at the airport in Moscow upon his arrival from Germany.
On Sunday, Navalny landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport where he was detained. Prior to Navalny’s return to Russia, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service warned it would arrest him for probation violations as he was previously found guilty of committing two administrative offenses.
“We urge the Russian government to provide a level playing field for all political parties and candidates seeking to compete in the electoral process. Aleksey Navalny is not the problem. We demand his immediate and unconditional release,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
He added that the “Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, an independent judiciary, and the ability to exercise their basic human rights of speech and assembly without fear of retribution.”
Earlier, in relation to various comments on Navalny’s detention, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova advised foreign officials to respect international law and focus on domestic issues.