• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

WH calls on Russia to release Alexei Navalny

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Police detained more than 3,700 people and used force to break up rallies across Russia on Saturday as tens of thousands of protesters ignored extreme cold and police warnings to demand Navalny be freed from jail where he is serving out a 30-day stint for alleged parole violations he denies.

The Biden administration has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately release Navalny, along with the protestors.

Video Transcript

JEN PSAKI: First, I'd like to point all of you to a statement that was released this weekend by the State Department, strongly condemning the use of harsh tactics against protesters and journalists in cities throughout Russia. These continued efforts to suppress Russians' rights to peacefully protest and assemble, and their freedom of expression, and the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. And the crackdown on protests that followed are troubling indications of further restrictions on Russian civil society. So I'll just reiterate our call from here on Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising their universal rights and for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny.

We also urge Russia to fully cooperate with the international community's investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil. And last week, we announced that the President had issued a tasking to the intelligence community for its full assessment of a range of activities, including, course, the SolarWind cyber breach, Russian interference in the 2020 election, its use of chemical weapons against Alexei Navalny, and the alleged bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan. That is ongoing. That review is a 100-day review.

So we'll have an update on that when it concludes. Actually, let me-- I apologize. I may have misstated that. It's not-- I don't have a timeline for the timeline of the review, it's something that's ongoing. It's a priority, of course.

- Has a call been scheduled with President Putin?

JEN PSAKI: I don't have any calls to predict for you at this point. But obviously, the President is picking up the phone, engaging with a range of foreign leaders-- Europeans and others. There's more plans in the next couple of days and we'll have readouts as those occur.