Kremlin critic returns to court docket having been jailed earlier this week, as a high EU official meets the Russian FM.

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny returns to court docket on Friday to face trial over a slander cost, amid a refrain of calls from Western capitals for his launch and talks between the European Union’s high diplomat and Russia’s international minister.

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most outstanding opponent, was jailed on Tuesday for nearly three years over alleged parole violations of a suspended sentence linked to a 2014 embezzlement case, which he has stated was politically motivated.

He appeared in court docket once more on Friday morning to face fees he slandered a World Conflict II veteran who took half in a promotional video backing final 12 months’s reforms that permit Putin run for 2 extra phrases within the Kremlin after 2024 if he desires.

Navalny described the folks within the video as traitors with no conscience and as corrupt lackeys.

Although the cost is at the moment punishable by as much as two years in jail, he can not face a custodial sentence as a result of the alleged crime was dedicated earlier than the legislation was modified to make it a jailable offence, in keeping with the 44-year-old’s lawyer.

Navalny stated final 12 months the case was a part of an unrelenting marketing campaign to stifle his political marketing campaign in opposition to the Kremlin.

EU-Russia talks

Navalny’s newest listening to comes as Josep Borrell, the EU’s excessive consultant for international affairs and safety coverage, is about to fulfill Russian international minister Sergey Lavrov within the capital, Moscow.

Regardless of shut commerce ties and vitality interdependence, Russia’s political relations with the EU have plunged to post-Chilly Conflict lows since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

On the eve of the talks, the Kremlin stated it wished dialogue between Moscow and Brussels to be restored to debate what it stated have been many disagreements.

Borrell stated Russia and the EU see one another as “rivals and rivals”, including the pair’s relationship was at a “low level” over Navalny’s case.

“Now we have robust disagreements on the subject of the conflicts in our quick neighbourhood, from Ukraine and Belarus to Libya and Syria, and on the subject of human rights and elementary freedoms,” the Spanish diplomat advised the Interfax information company.

“Now we have made our place very clear on the poisoning of Alexey Navalny, his arrest and that of hundreds of demonstrators over the previous days,” Borrell added.

1000’s arrested over protests

Navalny’s jailing has prompted condemnation from the EU and a number of other Western nations, with requires sanctions on Russia rising in Europe.

Moscow has to date dismissed the international criticism of its dealing with of Navalny’s case as exterior interference, accusing the West of hysteria and double requirements.

The Kremlin has additionally stated latest protests over Navalny’s arrest which noticed tens of hundreds take to the streets in cities and cities throughout Russia have been damaged up by police as a result of they have been unlawful.

Greater than 10,000 folks have been arrested for collaborating within the demonstrations, in keeping with protest-monitoring group OVD-Information.

Navalny was initially arrested on January 17 upon returning to Russia from the German capital, Berlin, the place he spent 5 months recovering from an alleged nerve-agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

The Kremlin denies involvement within the August 2020 incident and says it has seen no proof Navalny was poisoned.