The United States along with the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union, “are united in condemning the politically motivated arrest and detention” of prominent Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The G7 Foreign Ministers called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Mr. Navalny, who was arrested shortly after his return to Russia from Germany.
In a written statement, the G7 members also expressed deep concern over “the detention of thousands of peaceful protesters and journalists, and call[ed] upon Russia to adhere to its national and international obligations and release those detained arbitrarily for exercising their right of peaceful assembly on 23 January.”
“The violent suppression by police forces of the right of individuals to express their opinion is unacceptable. These events confirm a continuous negative pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society, human rights defenders, and independent voices in Russia,” said the G7 statement.
Mr. Navalny was nearly killed in August 2020 in an assassination attempt using a nerve agent of the Novichok group, a chemical weapon developed by the Soviet Union. The G7 Foreign Ministers reiterated that “any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes international norms against the use of such weapons. We. . .again urge the Russian authorities to investigate and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil in the light of Russia’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
The use of chemical weapons against an opposition politician, as well as Mr. Navalny’s latest detention, further undermine democracy, independent voices, and political plurality in Russia. The G7 urged Russia to fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to guarantee the rights it sets forth, including the right to freedom of expression, to all individuals within its territory and jurisdiction.
The United States and its G7 partners remain “strongly committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to our support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia, as well as to bolstering our support to Russian civil society.”