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World leaders condemn Navalny sentence, Russian Federation denounces ‘interference’

Poisoned Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny to return to Russia despite threats | Alexei Navalny

The Kremlin said the "unauthorised rallies" justified "the tough actions of the police".

Russian protesters take to Moscow's streets on 31 January in support of the opposition leader Alexey Navalny who was arrested when he returned from Germany.

More than 10,000 people were detained at recent rallies in Russian Federation in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with many subjected to mistreatment in police custody, monitors said Wednesday.

Navalny accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering the country's security agency Federal Security Service (FSB) to carry out the attack on him with the Novichok nerve agent, a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. She joined the ranks of more than 5,000 across Russian Federation who found themselves in police vans on Sunday, joining 4,000 detained a week before. He said "Millions can't be jailed, you have stolen people's future and you are now trying to scare them".

Ms Repnikova said time Mr Navalny previously spent under house arrest in the sentence would count as time served, and, according to his team, that would mean at least two-and-a-half years in prison now.

Red Square was closed and Moscow streets were cordoned off before the decision, as thousands of riot police were deployed across the Russian capital to prevent unrest.

Navalny's supporters called for more demonstrations over the decision, after thousands joined nationwide protests against his arrest over the last two weekends.

Seibert told reporters that the Moscow court's ruling "was far from the principles of rule of law", noting that it was based on Navalny's earlier conviction, which the European Court of Human Rights had deemed "arbitrary" and a breach of Navalny's rights to a fair trial.

Mr Navalny's arrest and the mass detentions have triggered a wave of condemnation from the West, with many leaders calling for his release and some urging new sanctions against Moscow.

"The hysteria we've heard over the legal process for the Navalny case is of course off the scale", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

He went on to say that Putin was too busy with issues such as mortgages that affect "millions and millions of Russians" to follow the Navalny case.

"I am fighting and will keep doing it even though I am now in the hands of people who love to put chemical weapons everywhere and no one would give three kopecks for my life", Navalny said.

"Make no mistake, the Kremlin is not terribly afraid of protests", she said.

There are growing calls, including from congressional lawmakers, for the U.S. to issue fresh sanctions over Navalny's detention and sentencing.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who will visit Moscow later this week, has criticised the detentions and the disproportionate use of force against protesters, emphasising that Russian Federation must comply with its global commitments on human rights.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the Western reaction as "disconnected from reality", adding: "There is no need to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state".