G7 Unanimously Condemns Arrest Of Navalny, Detention of Protesters

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The foreign ministers of the G7 countries released a statement Tuesday condemning the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the detention of thousands of Russians who protested in support of him.

Leaders of the seven countries, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with a representative from the European Union, described Navalny’s arrest and detention as “politically motivated” and called “upon the Russian authorities for Mr. Navalny’s immediate and unconditional release.”

Navalny was arrested immediately after arriving in Russia, according to Foreign Policy. He had been receiving treatment in Germany following an assassination attempt made by FSB agents. They poisoned Navalny with Novichok, a nerve agent that Russian operatives also used in the attempted assassination of a former KGB double agent who was living in the United Kingdom. (RELATED: Putin Says Russian Agents ‘Would Have Finished The Job’ If They Were Behind Opposition Leader Poisoning)

The arrest touched off a round of protests in sub-zero temperatures calling for Navalny’s release. More than 3,400 protestors were arrested, according to CBS News.

The G7 leaders called for Russia to “adhere to its national and international obligations and release those detained arbitrarily for exercising their right of peaceful assembly.”

Russia was suspended from the group, previously known as the G8, after it invaded and illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, CNN reported. At the time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that his country’s removal from the group was not “a great misfortune.”