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Russia wants Navalny ally arrested abroad; Lithuania refuses

A Moscow court orders the arrest of an exiled ally of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, but Lithuania, where the associate lives, bluntly rejects the demand to take him into custody.

The action against Leonid Volkov by the Basmanny District Court is seen as part of an effort by authorities to squelch demonstrations demanding the release of Navalny, a top Kremlin foe who has been jailed since Jan. 17.

Volkov, a chief strategist for Navalny, was charged with encouraging minors to take part in unauthorized rallies, which could land him in jail for up to three years. He had already been put on an international wanted list.

Volkov, who has lived abroad since 2019, has rejected the charges, and Lithuania’s government has refused to carry out the Russian court’s order.

“Using international tools for politically motivated prosecution is a wrong practice,“ Lithuanian Interior minister Agne Bilotaite says.

“This raises serious doubts about Russia‘s membership in these organizations,“ she says, referring to the Russian arrest warrant sent through Interpol.

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