Moscow slams West’s ‘international interference’ as US and EU react to Navalny sentence


Condemnation poured in from western leaders after a Moscow court docket sentenced opposition determine Alexey Navalny to nearly three years in jail. The Russian authorities cautioned the involved westerners to thoughts their very own enterprise.

“Don’t meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. And we recommend that everyone deals with their own problems,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova informed Russian broadcaster RBC on Tuesday. 

“Believe me,” she added, “there are enough of their own problems in these countries, there are plenty of issues to deal with.”

Shortly earlier than Zakharova spoke, the Moscow City Court dominated that Navalny had didn’t abide by the phrases of a suspended sentence, initially handed down for embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two firms, together with the French cosmetics model Yves Rocher. As Navalny had already served shut to 10 months underneath home arrest, his three-and-a-half yr sentence was shortened to simply underneath two years and eight months behind bars.

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His sentencing was condemned throughout the West. In Washington, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated he was “deeply concerned” by Navalny’s imprisonment, and stated the US would work with its allies to “hold Russia accountable for failing to uphold the rights of its citizens.”

After a telephone name between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin final week, the White House stated that Biden would act firmly in response to “actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” although Navalny was not talked about within the official readout of the decision.

EU international coverage consultant Josep Borrell referred to as for the “immediate release” of Navalny, as did French President Emmanuel Macron.

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued an analogous assertion. “Today’s verdict against Alexei Navalny is a bitter blow against fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in Russia,” he wrote on Twitter, concluding “Alexey Navalny must be released immediately.”

As Navalny was handled for his alleged poisoning in Germany final yr, the eyes of the world’s media had been targeted intently on Berlin’s response to the protest chief’s trial and sentencing. French officers referred to as on Angela Merkel’s authorities to cancel the nearly-completed Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline in response, however Berlin has refused to desert the undertaking. The pipeline, which might safe the stream of Russian fuel into Germany with out passing via Ukraine, has already been sanctioned closely by the US.

Russia’s neighbors Lithuania and Latvia urged the EU to sanction Russia in response to the sentence. Although no plan to take action has been formally introduced, EU international ministers stated final month that they’d contemplate avoiding sanctions if Navalny had been let out. Sanctions will possible be mentioned at an upcoming EU summit in March.

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Navalny’s case stoked protests in Moscow and drew the eye of extra than simply state leaders within the West. Swedish local weather activist Greta Thunberg chimed in along with her opinion on Tuesday, condemning EU leaders for purchasing their fossil fuels from “the ones responsible for this.”

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