UK condemns 'trumped up charges' against Putin critic Alexei Navalny

Downing Street said the Russian opposition leader – who faces another 13 years in jail after a “sham” trial – has shown “incredible bravery in standing up to the Putin regime”

Alexei Navalny in 2014

Britain has condemned “trumped up charges” against Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny as he faces another 13 years in jail in Russia after a “sham” trial.

The Russian opposition leader was found guilty of fraud and contempt of court charges his supporters say are fabricated in Pokrov today.

He was initially given three and a half years in a penal colony for breaking bail conditions while he was receiving life-saving treatment for poisoning the Kremlin was thought to be responsible for.

Downing Street today attacked the “trumped up charges” and commended the “incredible bravery” of Mr Navalny in “standing up to the Putin regime”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think I think we’ve seen the sort of trumped up charges that Putin uses against those seeking to hold into account or those that seek to engage in democratic process and this is sadly a continuation of that.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny seen on the TV screen at the press room during the trial


Getty Images)

“Our thoughts are with Alexei Navalny and his family as he continues to show incredible bravery in standing up to the Putin regime.”

Reports of the trial say that a “visibly gaunt” Mr Navalny folded his arms as the judge read out the verdict.

The Russian state accuses him of stealing $4.7m (£3.5m) of donations given to his now banned political organisations.

Delivering her verdict, Judge Margarita Kotova said Navalny had carried out “the theft of property by an organised group”. She also found him guilty of contempt of court.

Mr Navalny, one of Putin’s fiercest critics, was sent to a penal colony last year after being jailed for failing to observe bail conditions.

He was in hospital in Berlin after he was targeted with a nerve agent in August 2020. The Kremlin denies any involvement in his poisoning.

Vladimir Putin


Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said that while the attention of the world was focused on Ukraine, “another monstrous crime was being committed inside of Russia”.

She believes his life may now be at risk as he could be sent to a high security prison where conditions will be worse.

It came as Moscow intensified its attacks on Ukraine, both in Kyiv and the under siege port city of Mariupol, where Putin’s forces are accused of numerous war crimes and attacks on civilians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,



Meanwhile, No10 admitted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has not invited Boris Johnson to visit the war-torn country.

Tory chairman Oliver Dowden said yesterday that the Prime Minister was “desperate” to go to Kyiv to “see what’s happening to people on the ground”.

The PM’s spokesman said: “We’d obviously consider any invite should it be made. There are no plans to travel there currently.”

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