The State Department has demanded that the Kremlin immediately release opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The United States strongly condemns the “use of harsh tactics against protesters and journalists in cities across Russia” in the crackdown on mass rallies in support of Alexei Navalny. This is stated in a statement of the State Department.
The State Department noted that the Russian authorities also harassed the protests’ organizers, threatening social networks and arresting potential participants in advance. For years, the regime “has tightened restrictions and carried out repressive actions against civil society, independent media, and political opposition,” the US Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the US authorities, the crackdown on Russian civil rights, the arrest of Alexei Navalny, and the crackdown on the protests that followed are worrying signs of further restrictions on Russian civil society and fundamental freedoms.
The State Department calls on “the Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising universal rights and for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny.” Also, Washington continues to call on Moscow to “fully cooperate with the international community in the investigation of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and to explain the use of chemical weapons on its territory,” the statement said.
According to France-Presse, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, expressed concern about the reaction of the Russian authorities to the mass protests on Saturday and said he regretted the “widespread arrests” and the “disproportionate use of force.”
“I am following events in Russia with concern,” Borrell said in a tweet, “and regret the widespread detentions, the disproportionate use of force, and the Internet and telephone outages. On Monday, we will discuss the next steps with the EU foreign ministers.”
During the all-Russian action “Freedom to Alexei Navalny” on January 23, more than 2,300 participants of marches and rallies were detained by the police. In Moscow, according to police, about 900 people were detained.