French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that Russia and President Vladimir Putin will face sanctions if opposition leader Alexey Navalny dies.
Speaking to France 2 television, Le Drian said, “We will take the necessary sanctions and it will be the responsibility of Mr. Putin and the Russian authorities. I hope we won’t go to that extreme.”
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made similar comments to CNN Sunday, warning of unspecified “consequences” in the event of Navalny’s death.
Navalny was arrested in January after returning to Russia from Germany where he spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning. Navalny blames the Russian government for the attack, while Russian officials deny the accusation.
The opposition leader and frequent critic of Putin has been in declining health since launching a hunger strike three weeks ago.
His supporters have turned out for rallies calling for his release.
Police arrested more than 1,700 protesters on Wednesday as demonstrations took place in dozens of Russian cities.
Voice of America – English