Russia accuses US diplomats of publishing Navalny rally routes

WION Web Team
Moscow, Russia Published: Jan 23, 2021, 08.39 PM(IST)

A Navalny rally in Russia Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Police on Saturday detained over 1,000 protesters, including Navalny's wife, according to protest monitor OVD Info, as tens of thousands took to the streets to denounce President Vladimir Putin's rule.

Russia on Saturday accused the US embassy in Moscow of publishing routes of planned demonstrations in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and demanded an explanation from American diplomats.

Police on Saturday detained over 1,000 protesters, including Navalny's wife, according to protest monitor OVD Info, as tens of thousands took to the streets to denounce President Vladimir Putin's rule.

"Yesterday the US embassy in Moscow published 'protest routes' in Russian cities and tossed around information about a 'march on the Kremlin,'" foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook. 

"US colleagues will have to explain themselves," she added.

The embassy had distributed a "demonstration alert" to US citizens in Russia recommending they avoid protests in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities. 

The US embassy in Moscow, however, said Saturday it was following the rallies, adding that Washington supported "the right of all people to peaceful protest, freedom of expression."

"Steps being taken by Russian authorities are suppressing those rights," embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross said on Twitter.

The OVD-Info monitoring group said 1,090 people were detained at protests in dozens of Russian cities.

Police also detained Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Navalny's, at the rally.

Meanwhile, Britain urged Russia to respect international human rights commitments following the detention of more than 1,000 people in Moscow and other Russian cities on Saturday at rallies demanding the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

"We are deeply concerned by the detention of peaceful protesters and continue to monitor the situation closely," the British foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We urge the Russian government to respect and comply with its international commitments on human rights, and release citizens detained during peaceful demonstrations."

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