The European Parliament demands the release of Russian opponent Alexéi Navalni

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The European Parliament demanded this Thursday the “immediate and unconditional” release of the Russian opponent Alexéi Navalni and asked the European Union for a “new approach” in its relationship with Russia, through a resolution approved on Thursday.

The text – presented by the European People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the liberal group Renovar Europa, the Greens and the conservatives of the ECR – went ahead with 569 votes in favor, 67 against and 46 abstentions.

MEPs noted that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, “in his capacity as head of state” is “personally responsible” to protect the life of Navalni, whose health remains weak, despite having ended the hunger strike against his imprisonment, for which he lost 16 kilos.

The European Parliament also regretted that the Russian Justice considers the Anti-Corruption Foundation headed by Navalni “extremist” and urged the Russian authorities to “end acts of harassment, intimidation and attacks against opposition, civil society“in reference to the crackdown on protesters protesting Navalni’s conviction.

Regarding the deployment of Kremlin troops on the border with Ukraine, the text asked the EU to draw conclusions and specifically, the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, to “continue to be prepared to reach an agreement” with the Twenty-seven “on new joint actions”, even though Moscow has said it will put end to military escalation next Saturday. MEPs also reiterated their support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, not only in the face of Russian troops on the border, but also in reference to the annexation of Crimea and Sebastianpol that Russia carried out in 2014.

In the resolution, the European Parliament also wanted to show its “deep solidarity” with the Czech Republic, following the recent investigation that showed that Russia caused, also in 2014, an explosion at the Vrbětice weapons depot. And he also supported the order that Prague has given to Moscow to withdraw most of its diplomatic personnel in the Czech Republic, in response to the similar demand that the Kremlin has made to that country from the EU.

The European Parliament asked the EU to develop “a new approach” regarding its relationship with Russia and that the new sanctions regime that the Twenty-seven have been endowed with to punish human rights violations, also persecute corruption, as it happens, for example, with the Magnitsky law of the United States.


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