Moscow says US embassy interferes in Russia’s internal affairs over Navalny case
The Kremlin says the UE embassy in Moscow is interfering in Russia’s internal affairs after the American diplomatic mission said Washington supported “the right of all people to peaceful protest" amid rallies held in support of detained opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
US embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross made the remarks on Twitter, claiming that the US supported "freedom of expression” and that “steps being taken by Russian authorities are suppressing those rights.”
On Sunday, Kremlin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in an interview with a state TV channel, lambasted the move as interference in Russia’s domestic affairs.
“Of course, these publications are inappropriate. And of course, indirectly, they are absolutely interference in our domestic affairs,” he said, stressing that the American diplomatic mission is “indirectly” supporting the violation of Russian legislation and backing “unauthorized protests.”
Peskov said that if the Russian embassy in the US issued similar information “this would cause a certain feeling of discomfort in Washington.”
His comments came a day after Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted the US embassy were publishing routes of planned protest rallies, saying that the representatives of the US embassy would be summoned and would have to “explain themselves.”
“Yesterday the US embassy in Moscow published 'protest routes' in Russian cities and tossed around information about a 'march on the Kremlin,'” she added.
Navalny, 45, was taken ill on a domestic flight on August 20 last year. He was later transported to the German capital, where he was hospitalized with alleged poisoning.
His aides, as well as the German government and some Western countries, had already claimed he had been poisoned before the domestic Russian flight, blaming Moscow, which has repeatedly rejected the allegations.
Moscow stresses that Western media coverage of the case of Navalny serves as a pretext to promote new sanctions against Russia.
Upon returning to Russia, Navalny was detained and an impromptu court hearing in Khimki police station, near Moscow, demanded that he must be remanded in custody, meaning that he will be detained for 30 days, from the day of his arrest on January 17, awaiting trial.
Navalny is charged with breaking the terms of his probation, following a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence he received in 2014. That conviction relates to a fraud case involving the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher, which the opposition figure says was politically motivated.