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Putin, Navalny Protests Information: Dwell Updates


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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia stated in an handle on Wednesday that the nation’s response can be “asymmetrical, fast and difficult” in opposition to nations that threatened its safety pursuits.Credit scoreCredit score…Picture by Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday delivered an annual handle replete with threats in opposition to the West however, regardless of intense tensions with Ukraine, stopped in need of saying new navy or overseas coverage strikes.

Russia’s response might be “uneven, quick and difficult” whether it is pressured to defend its pursuits, Mr. Putin stated, pointing to what he claimed have been Western efforts at regime change in neighboring Belarus as one other menace to Russia’s safety.

He pledged that Russia “desires to have good relations with all contributors of worldwide society,” whilst he famous that Russia’s modernized nuclear weapons techniques have been on the prepared.

“The organizers of any provocations threatening the basic pursuits of our safety will remorse their deeds greater than they’ve regretted something in a very long time,” Mr. Putin advised a corridor of governors and members of Parliament. “I hope nobody will get the concept to cross the so-called crimson line with Russia — and we would be the ones to resolve the place it runs in each concrete case.”

Mr. Putin’s speech had been extensively anticipated, with about 100,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border and Ukraine’s president warning brazenly of the potential of struggle. Some analysts had speculated that Mr. Putin would possibly use his annual state of the nation handle to announce a pretext for sending troops into Ukraine.

However that potential end result didn’t come to go, whilst Russia’s huge navy presence close to Ukraine’s borders confirmed no signal of receding. Mr. Putin additionally made no reference to the jailed opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny, whose supporters have been holding protests throughout the nation on Wednesday.

As an alternative, Mr. Putin spent most of his speech on home points, acknowledging Russians’ discontent with the hardships of the pandemic. He outlined applications to subsidize summer season camp for kids, easy the system for child-support funds to single moms and transfer extra social providers on-line.

Nonetheless, it was too early to inform whether or not Mr. Putin, 68, was pulling again from the brink. Now in his third decade in energy, he seems extra satisfied than ever of his particular, historic function as the daddy of a reborn Russian nation, combating at house and overseas in opposition to a craven, hypocritical, morally decaying West.

“This sense of superiority blended with vanity offers him a sense of energy, and that is harmful,” stated Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian analyst who has studied Mr. Putin for years. “While you suppose you’re extra highly effective and extra clever than everybody else round you, you suppose you’ve gotten a sure historic mandate for extra wide-ranging motion.”

Mr. Putin has made strikes in current weeks that, even by his requirements, sign an escalation in his battle with these he perceives as enemies, overseas and home. Russian prosecutors final week filed swimsuit to outlaw Mr. Navalny’s group, a step that might lead to essentially the most intense wave of political repression in post-Soviet Russia. And in Russia’s southwest, Mr. Putin has constructed up a navy pressure, the Kremlin has indicated, that might be ready to maneuver into neighboring Ukraine.

In Washington, the Biden administration reacted mildly to Mr. Putin’s powerful phrases.

“We don’t take something President Putin says personally,” Jen Psaki, the White Home press secretary, stated when requested for a response. “We have now powerful pores and skin.”

Requested if the sharpened rhetoric from Mr. Putin would have an effect on the prospects for a potential assembly with President Biden later this 12 months, Ms. Psaki stated discussions have been ongoing. “Clearly,” she stated, “it requires all events having an settlement that we’re going to have a gathering and we issued that invitation.”

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President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine warned of a potential struggle with Russia in an handle to residents on Tuesday night. He directed feedback to President Vladimir V. Putin and referred to as for worldwide help.Credit scoreCredit score…Ukrainian Presidential Press Service, by way of Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressed his nation on Tuesday night, warning residents of the potential of struggle. He addressed President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia instantly, urging him to step again from the brink and proposing that the 2 meet.

The bizarre videotaped look by Mr. Zelensky — a former comic elected in 2019 on a promise to finish the battle in japanese Ukraine — was the clearest sign but that Ukraine is girding for the potential of a full-fledged struggle with Russia. Moscow’s buildup of troops on the Ukrainian border, he stated, had created “all of the preconditions for escalation.”

“Does Ukraine need struggle? No. Is it prepared for it? Sure,” Mr. Zelensky stated. “Our precept is straightforward: Ukraine doesn’t begin a struggle first, however Ukraine all the time stands to the final man.”

It seemed to be no coincidence that Mr. Zelensky’s handle got here on the eve of Mr. Putin’s annual state of the nation handle on Wednesday. On the finish of his video, Mr. Zelensky switched from Ukrainian to Russian, chatting with Mr. Putin instantly. He pushed again at Mr. Putin’s competition that Russian forces can be utilized in Ukraine provided that the Russian-speaking inhabitants within the east was threatened, and proposed a summit within the war-torn japanese area often known as Donbas.

“It’s inconceivable to carry peace on a tank,” Mr. Zelensky stated.

“I’m prepared,” he continued, “to ask you to fulfill wherever within the Ukrainian Donbas the place there may be struggle.”

There was no rapid response from the Kremlin to Mr. Zelensky’s invitation.

Aleksei A. Navalny, left, at a court hearing in February. 
Credit score…Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, by way of Shutterstock

Russia is transferring forward with efforts to outlaw the group led by the opposition determine Aleksei A. Navalny, a step that might lead to essentially the most intense wave of political repression within the post-Soviet period. However supporters of the jailed opposition chief say they’re decided to take to the streets.

Opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin have referred to as for protests throughout Russia on Wednesday in help of Mr. Navalny, whose allies say he’s on a starvation strike and close to loss of life in a Russian jail. The police have been anticipated to intervene forcefully to interrupt up the protests, which began within the nation’s Far East even earlier than Mr. Putin had completed delivering his state of the nation speech.

Mr. Putin has hardly ever talked about Mr. Navalny by identify and didn’t achieve this in his speech. He didn’t check with him in any approach.

Mr. Navalny is insisting that he be allowed to be seen by docs of his selecting. A lawyer who visited him, Vadim Kobzev, stated on Tuesday that Mr. Navalny’s arms have been punctured and bruised after three nurses had unsuccessfully tried six occasions to hook him as much as an intravenous drip.

“If you happen to noticed me now, you’d chortle,” Mr. Navalny stated in a letter that his crew posted to social media. “A skeleton strolling, swaying, in its cell.”

United Nations human rights investigators added their voices Wednesday to the demand that Mr. Navalny obtain higher medical remedy. Impartial consultants appointed by the world physique’s Human Rights Council in Geneva stated in a assertion that they believed “Mr. Navalny’s life is in critical hazard,” and referred to as on the Russian authorities to permit his “pressing medical evacuation from Russia.”

The Kremlin depicts Mr. Navalny as an agent of American affect, and Russian prosecutors filed a lawsuit on Friday to declare his group “extremist” and unlawful.

The extremism designation, which a Moscow courtroom will contemplate in a secret trial beginning subsequent week, would successfully pressure Russia’s most potent opposition motion underground and will lead to yearslong jail phrases for pro-Navalny activists.

The White Home has warned the Russian authorities that it “might be held accountable” if Mr. Navalny dies in jail. Western officers — and Mr. Navalny’s supporters and allies — reject the concept that he’s appearing on one other nation’s behalf.

However within the Kremlin’s logic, Mr. Navalny is a menace to Russian statehood, doing the West’s bidding by undermining Mr. Putin. It’s Mr. Putin who’s protecting Russia steady by sustaining a steadiness between competing factions in Russia’s ruling elite, stated Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Heart.

“If Putin leaves, a battle between completely different teams breaks out, and Russia withdraws into itself, has no time for the remainder of the world and now not will get in anybody’s approach,” Mr. Trenin stated. “The West is, after all, utilizing Navalny, and can use him to create issues for Putin and, in the long run, assist Putin change into historical past in a method or one other.”

Protesters in Moscow on Wednesday.
Credit score…Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

A number of thousand protesters crowded the broad sidewalks close to the Kremlin, at one level holding up their cellphones within the gathering nightfall.

They referred to as for the jailed opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny to be freed, nevertheless it was a way of widespread injustice that introduced lots of them out into the streets regardless of the specter of arrest.

“I didn’t come out concretely due to Aleksei Navalny — I got here out extra for myself,” stated Svetlana Kosatkina, a 64-year-old actual property agent. “I can’t stand this entire state of affairs of lawlessness and simply whole humiliation.”

Riot law enforcement officials have been out in pressure, however they appeared to keep away from scenes of brutality that might solid a shadow over President Vladimir V. Putin’s annual state of the nation speech earlier within the day. At the least initially, the police couldn’t be seen making arrests.

Protesters took up the sidewalks throughout the road from the exhibition corridor subsequent to the Kremlin the place Mr. Putin had spoken. They chanted “Go away!” — referring to Mr. Putin; and “Launch him!” — referring to Mr. Navalny.

Police loudspeakers blared: “Your occasion is unsanctioned. Please disperse.”

Mr. Navalny’s spouse, Yulia Navalnaya, joined the protesters on central Moscow’s tony boulevard ring, and was greeted with chants of “Yulia!”

A 33-year-old promoting skilled within the crowd — who gave solely his first identify, Denis, fearing retribution — blamed Mr. Putin for his present unemployment. It was Mr. Putin’s aggressive overseas coverage, he stated, that drove away overseas funding and restricted younger Russians’ hopes for the longer term.

He had come to the protest with a guide, in case he needed to spend the night time at a police station.

“We’re remoted now,” he stated. “I don’t see a future for this method. I don’t need to be an enemy to the surface world.”

A rally in support of Aleksei A. Navalny in Vladivostok on Wednesday.
Credit score…Pavel Korolyov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

Protesters in Vladivostok, a significant port on the japanese tip of Russia, had no want to listen to President Vladimir V. Putin’s annual keynote handle on Wednesday, crammed with guarantees of a greater future for Russians. They knew what they see as the primary points dealing with the nation wouldn’t get talked about.

“Freedom to political prisoners,” they chanted as they marched by town middle, in response to movies posted on social media. “Freedom to Navalny!” they screamed, referring to Aleksei A. Navalny, the Kremlin critic, who’s now on a starvation strike in a Russian jail. “Down with the Czar!” they chanted. The police warned protesters by loudspeakers that they might be arrested. “We won’t keep silent,” was their response.

Mr. Putin was nonetheless talking when individuals began gathering on primary squares within the nation’s Far East — the place protests began earlier than rallies prolonged throughout the huge nation of 11 time zones.

By the point Mr. Putin had completed, eight individuals have been already detained within the distant metropolis of Magadan, in response to Vesma, an area information web site. About 40 individuals got here out to protest in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of the Kamchatka area, with no arrests reported.

In Irkutsk, a significant metropolis additional west towards Moscow, lots of of individuals marched by town chanting “Freedom to Navalny!” and “Irkutsk, come out!” The police in Irkutsk detained 11 individuals.

By later within the day, at the least 306 individuals had been detained throughout the nation, in response to OVD-Information, a rights group that tracks arrests.

About 10,000 individuals have been arrested nationwide in two days of pro-Navalny rallies in January, in response to the identical group, suggesting that Wednesday’s turnout was lighter.

In Moscow close to the Kremlin, a number of thousand protesters turned out within the gathering nightfall. They included Mr. Navalny’s spouse, Yulia Navalnaya, who was greeted with chants of “Yulia!”

The Moscow police used loudspeakers warning the protesters to disperse, however there was no signal of heavy-handed techniques to crush the demonstrations. By the tip of the day the OVD-Information group stated solely 18 arrests had been reported in Russia’s capital.

The final wave of protests have been sparked by Mr. Navalny’s return to Russia in January from Germany, the place he had been handled after being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. Since Mr. Navalny’s return, the Russian authorities has undertaken an aggressive crackdown on dissent, elevating the dangers for anybody sympathetic to the protest motion.

Dozens of opposition activists have been arrested in 20 cities throughout Russia forward of the Wednesday rallies. A number of the activists have been crushed and sentenced to administrative arrests, in response to OVD Information. Many have been members of Mr. Navalny’s political group, however some have been arrested merely for having shared social media posts in regards to the rallies.

Amongst these detained have been two distinguished associates of Mr. Navalny: his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh; and Lyubov Sobol.

In current weeks, the Russian authorities have carried out raids on Mr. Navalny’s workplaces throughout the nation, on the lookout for leaflets and different supplies calling for protests. These gadgets would presumably be used within the Kremlin’s drive to have his group labeled “extremist,” which might expose its members to doubtlessly prolonged jail phrases.

In Kurgan, a metropolis in central Russia, an unidentified individual sneaked into Mr. Navalny’s workplace on Monday morning and destroyed a radiator, flooding the premises.

Underneath numerous pretexts, the authorities in cities throughout Russia blocked central squares and streets. In Yekaterinburg, they rescheduled a Victory Day parade rehearsal to make sure that it overlapped with a scheduled protest. In Kostroma, the central sq. was closed down, ostensibly for pest management measures.

In universities throughout the nation, college students have been ordered to sit down for unscheduled exams and different gatherings with obligatory attendance, TV Rain, an unbiased information station reported on Tuesday.

The authorities in Moscow denied Mr. Navalny’s allies a allow for the rally they’ve deliberate for Wednesday night, citing coronavirus considerations. The Prosecutor Common’s workplace warned mother and father that they might be topic to fines and arrest if their underage kids are detained at a rally.

Greater than 450,000 individuals nationwide registered on-line to declare their intent to participate in demonstrations in opposition to Mr. Navalny’s incarceration and remedy in jail. Greater than 100,000 individuals did so in Moscow, and greater than 50,000 in St. Petersburg.

Correction: 

An earlier model of this merchandise misstated Irkutsk’s location relative to the Kamchatka area of Russia. It’s additional west towards Moscow, not additional east. 

President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Credit score…Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, by way of Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

In a speech crammed with bluster and bromides in opposition to the West, President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday lingered on a grievance that has not gained a lot traction exterior the Russian state information media: an unfounded accusation that the C.I.A. has been plotting to assassinate the chief of Belarus.

At the same time as he raised the topic, Mr. Putin acknowledged that it was not being taken significantly exterior Russia.

“Characteristically, even such lamentable actions usually are not mentioned within the so-called collective West,” Mr. Putin stated. “They fake nothing occurred.”

Over the weekend, Russia’s home intelligence company, the Federal Safety Service, arrested two males who it stated have been plotting to homicide President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and to grab tv and radio stations.

It stated the boys had coordinated with U.S. and Polish intelligence businesses and are available to Russia to fulfill Belarusian generals sympathetic to the opposition. The Russian authorities launched video that confirmed the boys casually discussing their unbelievable plot over a meal at a Moscow restaurant.

One of many males, Aleksandr Feduta, is a former spokesman for Mr. Lukashenko. The opposite, Yuras Zyankovich, has twin U.S. and Belarusian citizenship. The US and Polish governments denied any function in a homicide and coup plot in Belarus.

The arrests aligned with Mr. Putin’s casting of Russia in his state of the nation speech on Wednesday as victimized and pressured by a hypocritical and aggressive Western world that poses imminent threats.

The encroaching West, Mr. Putin stated, has “crossed all of the boundaries.”

Insurance policies to strain Russia that have been beforehand restricted to financial sanctions “have been reborn as one thing extra harmful,” he stated. “I bear in mind the current info that got here to gentle of a direct try to arrange a coup in Belarus and the homicide of the chief of that nation.”

In an interview in March, President Biden assented when asked whether Vladimir V. Putin was a “killer.”
Credit score…Amr Alfiky/The New York Occasions

The election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president of the US, regardless of his promise to be powerful on Russia, initially gave the Kremlin hope, analysts say.

He was seen as extra skilled, dependable and pragmatic than President Donald J. Trump, with a worldview formed by a Chilly Struggle period of diplomacy during which Washington and Moscow engaged as equal superpowers with a duty for world safety. Of their first telephone name in January, Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin agreed to increase the New Begin arms-control treaty, a Russian overseas coverage objective that the Kremlin had not been in a position to obtain with Mr. Trump.

Then got here the tv interview in March during which Mr. Biden assented when requested whether or not Mr. Putin was a “killer.” A month later, that second — to which Russian officers and commentators responded with a squall of prime-time-televised, anti-American fury — seems like a turning level. It was adopted by final week’s raft of American sanctions in opposition to Russia, mixed with Mr. Biden’s name for a summit assembly with Mr. Putin, which to many Russians appeared like a crude American try to barter from a place of power.

“That is seen as an unacceptable state of affairs — you gained’t chase us into the stall with sanctions,” stated Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Heart, a suppose tank.

How far Mr. Putin will go in hanging again in opposition to the West’s actual or imagined hostility is an open query. Within the state information media, the temper music is dire. On the flagship weekly information present on the Rossiya 1 channel on Sunday, the host Dmitri Kiselyov closed a phase on Mr. Putin’s showdown with Mr. Biden by reminding viewers of Poseidon — a weapon in Russia’s nuclear arsenal that Mr. Putin revealed three years in the past.

“Russia’s armed forces are able to test-fire a nuclear torpedo that may trigger radioactive tsunamis able to flooding enemy cities and making them uninhabitable for many years,” a translation of a Danish newspaper report intoned.

Nonetheless, there are indicators that Mr. Putin doesn’t need tensions with the West to spiral uncontrolled.

As Europe and the US scrambled to evaluate the Russian troop buildup in late March, Russia’s prime navy officer, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, spoke on the telephone together with his American counterpart, Gen. Mark A. Milley. On Monday, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Mr. Putin’s Safety Council, mentioned the prospect of a presidential summit with Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s nationwide safety adviser. And the Kremlin stated this week that Mr. Putin would communicate at Mr. Biden’s on-line local weather change assembly on Thursday.

Ms. Stanovaya, the analyst, says she was satisfied that Mr. Putin is extra than his hawkish advisers in on the lookout for methods to work with the US. She pointed to Mr. Putin’s willpower to return Russia to the ranks of nice powers.

“Putin very a lot believes in his mission as an incredible historic determine with duty not just for Russia, but additionally for world safety,” Ms. Stanovaya stated. “He doesn’t perceive how it’s that the American president doesn’t really feel the identical approach.”

A satellite image of Russian military equipment at the Opuk training area on Crimea’s Black Sea coast.
Credit score…Maxar Applied sciences, by way of Related Press

The Russian authorities closed airspace to industrial visitors close to the Ukrainian border beginning on Tuesday in one other signal of rising navy tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The warning to industrial pilots covers elements of the Crimean Peninsula — annexed by Russia seven years in the past — and worldwide airspace over the Black Sea. It formalized what had already change into apparent: The area is within the grips of an more and more ominous navy disaster.

Ukraine objected final week to Russia’s closing of areas within the Black Sea to delivery, a ban that the U.S. State Division spokesman, Ned Value, on Monday referred to as an “unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing marketing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine.”

Over the previous month, Russia has massed the biggest navy pressure alongside Ukraine’s japanese border and in Crimea because the outset of struggle in 2014, in response to Western governments. Analysts say that the intentionally excessive visibility of the buildup signifies that its goal is extra a warning to the West than a prelude to invasion.

“They’re deploying in a really seen approach,” stated Michael Kofman, a senior researcher at CNA, a coverage analysis group in Arlington, Va. “They’re doing it overtly, so we are able to see it. It’s intentional.”

The Russian navy says it’s conducting workouts in response to Ukrainian threats to 2 Russian-backed separatist areas and to what it calls heightened NATO navy exercise within the Black Sea space.

Army tensions have additionally risen elsewhere. On Tuesday, Russia’s Air Drive flew two nuclear-capable Tu-160 strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea for eight hours. Within the Arctic Ocean, the Northern Fleet has been conducting an enormous naval drill, the Protection Ministry stated.

A photograph of Mr. Putin on the outskirts of Moscow during his address on Wednesday. He hailed Russians’ “singular cohesion, their spiritual and moral values that in a number of countries are forgotten.”
Credit score…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Occasions

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has typically sought to bolster home help by rally-around-the-flag, aggressive overseas coverage strikes. However on Wednesday he opened his annual handle to the nation by specializing in the bread-and-butter financial points that polls present most fear Russians.

He rattled off a laundry record of social subsidies that he stated his authorities would start to offer to new moms, single mother and father and low-income households.

“For our whole historical past, our individuals triumphed, overcoming challenges due to their singular cohesion, their non secular and ethical values that in various nations are forgotten, however we quite the opposite have strengthened,” Mr. Putin stated.

He outlined applications to subsidize summer season camp for kids, easy the system for child-support funds to single moms and transfer extra social providers on-line.

Whereas Russia continues to be in the throes of a coronavirus wave, Mr. Putin minimized the menace and stated Russia would swivel to “therapeutic the injuries” and shoring up the financial system. He additionally laid out a requirement that Russian laboratories be prepared to arrange exams for potential new infectious ailments inside 4 days of their discovery.

Mr. Putin historically begins his yearly handle with a concentrate on financial points, and regardless of rising tensions with the West, this 12 months was no completely different.

The Russian chief is conscious that vacant wallets can add gas to protest actions and that the stagnating financial system is taking a toll on help for his authorities. Russians’ common take-home wages adjusted for inflation have been declining because the Ukraine disaster in 2014, dropping 10 % since then.

Analysts say it’s no coincidence that protests have seeped out of the rich cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg to Russia’s far-flung provinces, that are feeling the financial ache extra acutely.

The Russian funds fell into deficit through the pandemic final 12 months, however within the first quarter of 2021 was once more in surplus, buoyed by rising oil costs. This has supplied Mr. Putin room for maneuver on populist insurance policies earlier than parliamentary elections scheduled for the autumn.

Through the years, he has padded his speeches with populist bulletins which might be typically repetitions or minor updates on long-running insurance policies.

Russia, for instance, has for years paid a bonus of round $10,000 to girls for the delivery of a kid, a coverage meant to assist reverse Russia’s lengthy demographic decline.

A penal colony in Vladimir, where Mr. Navalny has been moved.
Credit score…Dimitar Dilkoff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

United Nations human rights consultants, expressing fears for the lifetime of the opposition chief, Aleksei A. Navalny, referred to as on Russia to permit his pressing evacuation for medical remedy overseas.

“We consider Mr. Navalny’s life is in critical hazard,” the group of 4 U.N. consultants stated in a assertion on Wednesday. They cited the assault with a nerve agent final 12 months that just about killed him, which Western governments consider was ordered by the Kremlin, and his incarceration in circumstances that of their view may quantity to torture.

These “are all a part of a deliberate sample of retaliation in opposition to him for his criticism of the Russian authorities and a gross violation of his human rights,” in response to the consultants, together with specialists on freedom of speech, torture, extrajudicial killings and the appropriate to well being.

“There isn’t a legitimate authorized foundation for Mr. Navalny’s arrest, trial and imprisonment,” the consultants stated. Mr. Navalny has been detained since final month after being convicted of breaching bail circumstances whereas receiving medical remedy in Germany for the Novichok nerve agent assault on him.

Their assertion referred to as for his “pressing medical evacuation from Russia.”

Though Mr. Navalny had been transferred to a jail hospital, authorities haven’t allowed him entry to docs of his personal selecting, the rights consultants famous.

The Russian authorities’ “obvious violations of the prohibition of torture or different ill-treatment, his proper to counsel, and most notably his proper to immediate and efficient medical care whereas in detention solely deepen our already profound considerations about Mr. Navalny’s life and security,” the consultants stated.

Underneath worldwide regulation, they stated, the Russian authorities “should take all mandatory measures to guard Mr. Navalny’s bodily and psychological well being and well-being.”





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