Baltic foreign ministers call for 'immediate release' of Alexei Navalny
The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania issued a joint statement condemning the detention of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by the Russian authorities in Moscow on Sunday evening and called for his "immediate release".
Foreign ministers Urmas Reinsalu of Estonia, Edgars Rinkēvičs of Latvia, and Gabrielius Landsbergis of Lithuania issued a joint statement on Sunday.
"Detaining Alexei Navalny by the Russian authorities is completely unacceptable. We demand his immediate release. The EU should act swiftly and if he is not released, we need to consider the imposition of restrictive measures in response to this blatant act," the statement said.
Joint statement by : "Detaining Alexei @Navalny by the Russian authorities is completely unacceptable. We demand his immediate release. EU should act swiftly and if he is not released, we need to consider imposition of restrictive measures in response to this blatant act"— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) January 17, 2021
Navalny collapsed on an internal flight in Siberia last August, and it later emerged he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. He was taken to Germany for treatment despite the Russian authorities attempting to block the move.
He was detained on landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday after flying from Berlin. This is the first time he had tried to reenter Russia since his poisoning.
All three foreign ministers posted the statement on their social media accounts after each had called for Navalny to be allowed to safely return to Russia hours earlier.
Reinsalu (Isamaa) wrote: "All eyes are on Russia now, Navalny must be allowed to return safely and without the threat of repressions", while Latvia's Rinkēvičs said: "The world is watching."
Russian opposition leader Alexey @navalny is on his way back to #Russia after long months of recovery from attempt to kill him. He must be allowed safe and unhindered return home. The world is watching— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) January 17, 2021
Ratas: Detaining Navalny is "inadmissible"
Outgoing Prime Minister Juri Ratas (Center) also commented on Navalny's detention and said the Russian authorities should: "cooperate to ensure an impartial international investigation and bring to justice those responsible of [the] assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny. Detaining him after returning home is simply inadmissible."
Russian authorities should cooperate to ensure an impartial international investigation and bring to justice those responsible of assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny. Detaining him after returning home is simply inadmissible. https://t.co/vmIWSo4F3i— Jüri Ratas (@ratasjuri) January 17, 2021
Editor's note: This article was updated to add Jüri Ratas' comments.
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Editor: Helen Wright