September 23, 2023

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny attends a rally marking the 5th anniversary of the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and protests against proposed changes to the country’s constitution on February 29, 2020 in Moscow, Russia.

Shamil Zhumatov | Reuters

State Secretary Antony Blinken condemned the Russian government on Tuesday after Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was sentenced to more than two years in prison.

The arrest of the opposition leader last month sparked mass protests across Russia and resulted in hundreds of his supporters being jailed.

“The United States is deeply concerned about Russia’s actions against Aleksey Navalny. We reiterate our call on the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr Navalny and hundreds of other Russian citizens who have been wrongly detained in recent weeks for exercising their rights . ” Said blinking.

Navalny, a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on January 17 for parole violations after returning from Germany, where he had been treated for nerve agent poisoning last August.

He was charged with failure to keep in touch with his probation officer during this time because of a suspended sentence related to fraud allegations from 2014. Navalny called the case politically motivated.

The opposition leader has accused Putin of ordering the poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok, but the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

Last month, Blinken said the Biden administration is looking into other issues related to Russia, including the hacking of SolarWinds, reports of Russia’s bounties to American forces in Afghanistan, and possible election nuisance, and will determine its response based on its findings.

Holly Ellyatt of CNBC contributed to this report.