French Foreign Ministry Calls For Release Of Russian Opposition Figure Navalny

PARIS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th January, 2021) The French Foreign Ministry has expressed concerns over the detention of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny upon his arrival in Moscow from Germany.

On Sunday, Navalny landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport where he was detained.

"France has learned with great concern of the arrest in Russia of Mr. Alexei #Navalny. Together with its European partners, it is following the situation with the utmost vigilance and calls for his immediate release," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Twitter.

In relation to various comments on Navalny's detention, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has advised foreign officials to respect international law and focus on domestic issues.

"Mr. Sullivan [National Security Advisor for US President-elect Joe Biden] (as well as many other foreign figures who publish pre-prepared comments): respect international law, do not encroach on the national legislation of sovereign states and deal with the problems in your own country," Zakharova said on Facebook after Sullivan called for Navalny's release on Twitter.

Earlier on Sunday, European Council President Charles Michel, as well as several European foreign ministries and ministers called on the Russian authorities to release Navalny.

On August 20, Navalny fell ill on a domestic flight in Russia. He was initially treated in the Siberian city of Omsk, where the plane made an emergency landing. Two days later, when the doctors determined that he was fit for cross-border aerial transportation, Navalny was taken to the Berlin-based Charite hospital for further treatment.

In a statement, the German government said that doctors had found evidence of a poisonous nerve agent from the Novichok group in Navalny's body. Russia disputed these allegations, noting that its doctors had found no toxic substances while Navalny was treated in Omsk.

Prior to Navalny's Sunday return to Russia, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service warned it would arrest him for probation violations as he was previously found guilty of committing two administrative offenses.