Police detained prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on arrival in Moscow on Sunday (January 17) after he flew home to Russia from Germany for the first time since he was poisoned last summer, triggering a political clash with the West.
His wife Yulia Navalnaya spoke to supporters outside the airport thanking them for their support and calling on them not to be afraid.
The move, which could see Navalny jailed for three and a half years for allegedly flouting the terms of a suspended prison sentence, may reignite political pressure on the West to tighten sanctions on Russia, especially against an $11.6 billion project to build a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
- Yulia! Yulia! Yulia! Yulia! Yulia! Yulia!
YULIA NAVALNAYA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
INTERPRETER: They are so afraid of Alexei, that they closed everything, stopped almost all the flights tonight in Moscow. They've let down so many people just because a man has flown back to his motherland.
The main thing that Alexei said today, that he is not afraid. I'm not afraid either, and call on you not to be afraid. Thank you very much for support.