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Russia Dismisses Calls for Sanctions After Navalny Arrest

Russia dismissed calls Tuesday for opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s release and threats of sanctions after his arrest, calling the issue a national matter.Responding to calls for sanctions against Moscow a day after Navalny was arrested, a Kremlin spokesperson said Navalny’s case would be dealt with internally.FILE – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov listens during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 19, 2019.“We can’t and are not going to take these statements into account,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday.”This is about a Russian citizen not complying with Russian law. This is an absolutely domestic matter, and we will not allow anyone to interfere in it,” he went on.Navalny returned Monday to Russia after spending months in Germany recovering from poisoning — an attack he blames on Russian security forces backed by longtime president Vladimir Putin. Putin has denied these allegations.A Russian court Monday sentenced Navalny to 30 days in a Moscow prison over parole violations, setting the stage for a later trial that could send the Kremlin’s most vocal critic to prison for several years. Authorities converted the Moscow suburban police station where the opposition leader had been held for less than 24 hours into a makeshift courtroom. They claim Navalny violated his parole rules of a 2014 corruption conviction — a case European human rights groups have called “arbitrary.”Navalny and his legal team were given little advance notice of the hearing, in sharp contrast to Russian state media cameramen who were in position to film the deliberations as they unfolded. 

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