The European Conservatives and Reformists Group strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest of leading Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, upon his return to Moscow on 17 January. As a result, the ECR Group has filed an immediate resolution in the European Parliament calling for swift action to be taken against those directly responsible.
The ECR Group assesses that the attempts to silence Mr Navalny serve as a clear indication of President Putin’s well-established method of eliminating his political and personal enemies. We express our sympathy to the family of Mr Navalny and call for his immediate release from custody, the dropping of all of charges and cessation of prosecution.
Anna Fotyga, MEP and Foreign Affairs Committee Coordinator of the ECR Group comments:
“Alexei Navalny’s only crime is to speak up for the people of Russia against an increasingly corrupt and authoritarian regime. He should be released without hesitation and the Kremlin leaders should face increased sanctions from the international community, including stopping controversial Nord Stream-2 project.”
Alexei Navalny’s recent arrest and the attempt on his life with a nerve agent in September 2020 are not only acts against democracy and political plurality in the Russian Federation, but breaches of international law. They also represent the further utilisation in recent years of a military-grade nerve agent and non-independent judiciary against opposition figures.
The ECR Group once again calls for a combined international response and investigation into this case, and urges the European Council to adopt restrictive measures against those directly responsible for the poisoning, arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny.
Finally, the ECR Group also stresses the urgency in recognising the unreliability of the current EU-Russia relationship and calls for a prompt strategic reassessment of the EU’s relationship with Russia.