Kremlin brushes aside Western calls to release Alexei Navalny
MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Tuesday brushed aside calls from the West to release opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested upon his return to Russia from Germany following treatment for poisoning with a nerve agent. Moscow called his case “an absolutely internal matter.”
Navalny blames his poisoning on President Vladimir Putin’s government, which has denied it. The condemnations of his arrest and the calls from abroad for his release have added to the existing tensions between Russia and the West. Some European Union countries are suggesting more sanctions against Moscow.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “we can’t and are not going to take these statements into account.”
“We are talking about a fact of noncompliance with the Russian law by a citizen of Russia. This is an absolutely internal matter and we will not allow anyone to interfere in it and do not intend to listen to such statements,” Peskov said.
Navalny, 44, was detained Sunday evening at passport control at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after arriving from Berlin, where he was treated following the poisoning in August. On Monday, he was ordered to pretrial detention for 30 days.
On Tuesday, Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption released a two-hour video investigation of what they called “Putin’s palace” — an estate on Russia’s Black Sea that they said cost $1.3 billion and was allegedly funded through an elaborate corruption scheme involving Putin’s inner circle.
In the video, Navalny claims that the estate and grounds that Russian media had linked to Putin years ago is 39 times the size of Monaco.