Russia’s poisoned opposition leader Navalny held after flying home

Russia's poisoned opposition leader Navalny held after flying home
Alexei Navalny was filmed saying goodbye to his wife and then being led away by authorities in Moscow.
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Daily US Times: Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained after flying back to Moscow from Germany, five months after he was nearly killed by a poisoned attack.

The activist, a vocal critic of President Putin, was led away by police at passport control at Sheremetyevo airport.

Thousands of Navalny’s supporters had gathered at a different Moscow airport to greet his flight from Berlin, but the plane was diverted.

Mr Navalny blames Russian authorities for the attempt to kill him on his life last year. The Kremlin denies any role behind it.

Navalny’s allegations have however been backed up by reports from investigative journalists.

News of Mr Navalny’s detention srarked condemnation from the European Union, Italy and France, which called for his immediate release.

Incoming US President Joe Biden’s incoming national security adviser echoed the call. Jake Sullivan said: “The Kremlin’s attacks on Mr Navalny are not just a violation of human rights, but an affront to the Russian people who want their voices heard.”

When the Russian opposition leader was poisoned last August and collapsed on an internal flight, he was flown to Germany for emergency treatment. As he recovered, he said he intended to return to his home country Russia.

He made good on that pledge on Sunday boarding a Pobeda Airlines flight despite warnings he would face arrest on landing.

The plane was packed with journalists. Shortly before landing, the pilot announced that for “technical reasons”, the plane was being diverted from Vnukovo airport to Sheremetyevo airport, causing a stir among the passengers.