Russia ignores appeals, sends Alexei Navalny to prison
Defying US and European calls to free opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a Russian court on Monday jailed him for 30 days, a day after detaining him upon arrival from Germany where he had undergone treatment for a poisoning attack.
He faces three and a half years in prison at a hearing set for January 29 on charges of violating the terms of a suspended sentence. In a makeshift courtroom in a police station outside Moscow, a judge spelt out the violations made by Navalny, 44, who will be held until February 15.
Navalny was stopped by police on Sunday night at passport control as he landed in Moscow from Berlin, where he’d gone for treatment after falling ill in August that he and western governments believe resulted from poisoning carried out by the Kremlin. His detention threatens a new round of tensions with the West as well as demonstrations across Russia.
In a video appeal recorded in the courtroom on Monday, he called on supporters to protest. “Don’t be scared. Come out on the streets - not for me but for yourselves and your future,” he said. Allies said they will seek to organise protests nationally on January 23. They will defy authorities’ refusal for permits.
Before the ruling, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged Russia to “immediately” release Navalny and ensure his safety, adding her voice to similar calls from the US, UK and Germany. “Detention of political opponents is against Russia’s international commitments,” she said in a statement on Monday.
President Joe Biden said Sunday that recent cases of monkeypox that have been identified in Europe and the United States were something “to be concerned about.” In his first public comments on the disease, Biden added: “It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential." “They haven't told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden said.
The war between Russia and Ukraine is now heading to the fourth month, with no signs of peace. The ferocious fighting which began on February 24 has killed thousands of civilians, flattened cities and forced more than six million Ukrainians to flee the country. Having already abandoned its move to capture capital Kyiv, Russia is now all out to capture the eastern and southern parts of the war-torn country.
Shanghai reopened a small part of the world's longest subway system on Sunday after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week. Inside the carriages, passengers were seen keeping some empty seats between themselves. Four of the 20 lines reopened, and 273 bus routes. Most restrictions on movement will remain in place this month.
US President Joe Biden, in Seoul before heading to Japan as part of his first Asia trip as president, had a simple message for North Korea's Kim Jong Un: "Hello... period," he told reporters on the last day of his visit to South Korea on Sunday. Biden said he was "not concerned" about new North Korean nuclear tests, which would be the first in nearly five years.
Only diplomacy can end the Ukraine war, the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has insisted as Kyiv on Saturday ruled out settling for ceasefire or “concessions” to Russia. Here are ten updates on the Ukraine war: 1. The war-hit country has estimated its losses to be around $100 billion, reports have said. The Ukraine war has triggered a global fuel and food crisis. But it has also widened the differences between Russia and its neighbouring countries.