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Russian court jails Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

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A Russian court sentenced Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to jail on Tuesday.

The widely anticipated sentencing came despite massive protests across Russia over the past two weekends as demonstrators called for his release.

Navalny, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics, was arrested on Jan. 17 for alleged parole violations after returning from Germany, where he had been recovering from being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.

In a fiery speech to the court Navalny alleged he was jailed because he is Putin's main political rival and also said Putin will go down in history as a "poisoner," saying Putin's only method to hold power is "killing people. However much he pretends to be a great geo-politician, he'll go down in history as a poisoner."

Navalny said Russian state security agents had put the poison in his underpants, something the Kremlin denied.

Tuesday's sentencing is likely to further strain relations with the West.

The United States, Britain and Germany urged Moscow to immediately free Navalny, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington would coordinate closely with allies to hold Russia accountable.

Navalny's supporters urged people to gather in central Moscow though riot police had already taken up positions.

His lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.

Video Transcript

- A Russian court sentenced Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to jail on Tuesday. The widely anticipated sentencing came despite massive protests across Russia as demonstrators called for his release. Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics, was arrested on January 17 for alleged parole violations after returning from Germany, where he had been recovering from being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.

In a fiery speech to the court, Navalny alleged he was jailed because he is Vladimir Putin's main political rival and also said the Russian leader will go down in history as a poisoner, saying Putin's only method to hold power is, quote, "killing people. However much he pretends to be a great geo-politician, he'll go down in history as a poisoner." Navalny said Russian state security agents had put the poison in his underpants, something the Kremlin denied.

Tuesday's sentencing is likely to further strain relations with the West. The United States, Britain, and Germany urged Moscow to immediately free Navalny, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington would coordinate closely with allies to hold Russia accountable. Navalny supporters urged people to gather in central Moscow, though riot police had already taken up position. His lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.