US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington is consulting with allies to prepare a joint “adequate” response to the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny by the Russian authorities, whose government he called “kleptocracy.”
“First of all, we conduct consultations and work closely with other countries that are very concerned about what happened, and not only with Navalny, but also with others who used their rights,” Blinken said in an interview with CNN.
Earlier this month, a Moscow court sent Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to jail after finding him guilty of violating probation rules, which Navalny himself and his associates have denied.
“With regard to Navalny, the fact that the Russian authorities, Putin, consider it necessary to drown out one voice, speaks of how important this voice is and how it represents the millions of Russians who want to be heard, who are tired of corruption and kleptocracy,” Secretary of State.
Navalny’s trial took place after he returned from Germany after being treated for poisoning in Russia. Medical experts from Germany and other European countries have determined that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok, a deadly Russian chemical agent developed during the Cold War.
Blinken said it seems clear that they tried to kill Navalny using chemical weapons.
“This violates the Chemical Weapons Convention and other obligations of Russia,” Blinken said. “This violates the clear sanctions announced by Congress. We are considering this issue, we are studying it very carefully, and when we have results, we will take adequate measures. “
Blinken also noted that, in his view, the mass protests in Russia in connection with Navalny’s sentence “are an expression of deep discontent … with the rampant corruption and kleptocracy that dominates the government.”
“This confirms that the Russians are trying to make their voices heard. And the system in its current form is not very conducive to this, ”he added.
At the same time, the head of American diplomacy denied Russia’s accusations that the United States and other Western countries are trying to provoke protests.
“It’s about Russia, the Russian people, their future,” Blinken said. “It’s not about us. I think the Russian government is making a mistake, attributing responsibility for what is happening to external players, be it the United States, European partners or someone else. The point is in Russia, in its future and, I hope, in a more democratic system that will come. “