A queue photo dated September 29, 2019 shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a rally in endorse of political prisoners in Prospekt Sakharova Street in Moscow, Russia. Alexei Navalny is unconscious in hospital after allegedly being contaminated according to his press secretary.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden’s nationwide security advisor Jake Sullivan called for the immediate release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was detained Sunday upon coming at an airport in Moscow.
Earlier on Sunday, Navalny flew to Russia from Berlin, Germany where he had spent almost half a year recovering since he was poisoned last summer. He was arrested at passport control.
Last week, Russian experts issued a warrant for Navalny’s arrest, claiming that he had violated the terms of a suspended three-and-a-half year sentence he earned back in 2014 for embezzlement charges.
“Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life should be held accountable,” Sullivan wrote on Twitter.
The White House and Department of State did not immediately respond to CNBC’s demand for comment.
Sullivan’s call for Navalny’s release comes days before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into duty. Biden’s incoming administration is expected to increase pressure on Russia.
In the wake of Navalny’s poisoning last year, Biden solemn word of honoured “to work with our allies and partners to hold the Putin regime accountable for its crimes,” and he accused President Donald Trump of not fascinating a tough enough stance.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators had called on the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia in return to Navalny’s poisoning. Trump, who leaves office Wednesday, has not done so.
The United Kingdom and the European Union, close U.S. unites, moved swiftly to impose targeted sanctions on six Russians and a state research center in October.
Aboard the flight disregard to Moscow, Navalny told reporters that he felt great and that making the journey home has been “the most superbly moment in the last five months.”
“I feel great. Finally, I’m returning to my home town,” he said, according to a Reuters sign in.
Last year, Navalny was medically evacuated to Germany from a Russian hospital after he became ill following reveals that something was added to his tea. Russian doctors treating Navalny denied that the Kremlin critic had been evil influenced and blamed his comatose state on low blood sugar levels.
In September, the German government said that the 44-year-old Russian revolutionary was poisoned by a chemical nerve agent, describing the toxicology report as providing “unequivocal evidence.” The nerve agent was in the kind Novichok, which was developed by the Soviet Union.
On the heels of the test results, the White House said it was “deeply troubled” by the mean something and called the poisoning “completely reprehensible.”
“The United States is deeply troubled by the results released today,” White Edifice National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot said in a written statement at the time. “Alexei Navalny’s mephitis is completely reprehensible. Russia has used the chemical nerve agent Novichok in the past,” he said, referencing the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018.
The Kremlin has time denied a role in the poisoning of Navalny and Skripal’s.
Navalny’s arrest Sunday is poised to further strain relations between European directors and Russian President Vladimir Putin and comes as the Kremlin works to secure a gas pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, to Germany.