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Iran Press TV

Russia dismisses US 'aggressive rhetoric' over Navalny case

Iran Press TV

Friday, 05 February 2021 4:36 PM

Russia has denounced the US president's latest comments on the detention of opposition figure Alexei Navalny as "aggressive rhetoric," saying the "hints of ultimatum" in Joe Biden's words are unacceptable.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to Biden's speech a day earlier, in which the American leader accused Moscow of suppressing free speech and called for Navalny's release.

Biden had said the days of "the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions are over," and that Washington would Washington "will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia for its actions.

In response, Peskov said "this is a very aggressive and unconstructive rhetoric, unfortunately, and that "any hints of an ultimatum are absolutely unacceptable to us."

He added that Moscow would not heed such statements, calling on Washington to "show political will to continue communication in the areas beneficial to us" instead of adopting such hostile positions.

Navalny was detained on January 17 for breaking the terms of a 2014 suspended prison sentence. On Tuesday, the Moscow City Court sentenced Navalny to two years and eight months in prison for breaking the terms of that sentence.

Since then, his supporters have held unauthorized protests to call for his release, in violation coronavirus-relations restrictions in place.

The US and European Union states have openly interfered in the case by urging Moscow to release Navalny and condemning the response to protests across Russia.

Moscow has denounced the meddling, stressing that the Russian Federation's judicial system must be respected.

The opposition figure was first taken into custody upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he and a number of Western governments blames on the Kremlin, an accusation roundly rejected by Russia.

Lavrov warns EU against further harming Russia ties

At a meeting with the European Union's Josep Borrell in Moscow on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once again slammed the European officials for refusing to share evidence of the poisoning to back up their claims.

He warned of unpredictable repercussions if Moscow-EU ties suffer more blows, saying bilateral relations "are not at their best, including due to one-sided, illegitimate restrictions introduced by the EU under trumped-up pretexts."

Borrell likewise said ties with Russia were "under severe strain," and that Navalny's case was "a low point."

In October last year, the EU imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and a research center, accusing them of having a hand in the poisoning of Navalny. Russia responded with tit-for-tat bans.

Borrell said at a presser with Lavrov following their meeting that sanctions will be on the agenda again during a meeting of EU foreign ministers later this month.

He added, however, that "there is no proposal for the time being by any member state" regarding new measures.

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