Navalny vs. Putin
Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader and leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.
A Moscow court jailed Navalny on Tuesday for alleged parole violations after he received a suspended sentence in a 2014 embezzlement case, NBC News reports. Those original charges against him were "widely seen as politically motivated," Axios notes.
Navalny recently returned to Moscow after recovering from a poisoning that he has accused Putin of ordering, which the Kremlin has denied. During a hearing on Tuesday, he delivered a scathing speech, saying Putin will "go down in history as nothing but a poisoner." He also dismissed the charges against him as fabricated and argued that he was detained when he returned to Moscow because "I mortally offended" Putin by surviving the poisoning.
"The aim of that hearing is to scare a great number of people," Navalny also said Tuesday, per The Associated Press. "You can't jail the entire country."
Following the sentencing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is "deeply concerned by Russia's actions toward" Navalny, reiterating "our call for his immediate and unconditional release as well as the release of all those wrongfully detained for exercising their rights."