Wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny flies to Germany

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Rozina Sabur
·2 min read
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya are seen on board a plane during a flight from Berlin to Moscow - Reuters
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya are seen on board a plane during a flight from Berlin to Moscow - Reuters

The wife of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny arrived in Germany on a flight from Russia on Wednesday night, according to media reports.

Yulia Navalnaya landed at Frankfurt airport after flying from Moscow on Wednesday evening, according to Der Spiegel, the German magazine.

It is unclear what prompted Ms Navalnaya to leave Russia, but associates stressed to the magazine that her departure was temporary.

Her husband, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, was flown to Germany last summer after being poisoned in Siberia with what many Western countries said was a military-grade nerve agent.

Mr Navalny returned to Russia with his wife on Jan 17, where he was arrested and sentenced to three and a half years in jail after a Moscow court ruled he had violated the terms of his parole.

Ms Navalnaya was arrested on Jan 23 during a demonstration in Moscow. She was later fined 20,000 roubles (£196) for taking part in what prosecutors said was an "unsanctioned protest".

Russian authorities have responded to the protests sweeping across the country in support of Mr Navalny with a sweeping crackdown, detaining about 11,000 people.

They also have moved to isolate key members of Mr Navalny's team, putting several of his top associates under house arrest for two months without access to the internet.

The Kremlin is also thought to be considering pushing through legislation to stop Ms Navalnaya from taking part in parliamentary elections in September. Associates of Mr Navalny have refuted the suggestion that his wife is considering standing for election.

The United States, Britain, Germany and the EU have urged Moscow to immediately free Mr Navalny. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has said Washington will co-ordinate closely with its allies to hold Russia accountable.

On Wednesday, Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, said sanctions against Russia must target the right people.