Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba has stated that Ukraine supports calls for the release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as he is an enemy of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We have taken a tough and principled position, because, firstly, it is wrong to beat people who came out to protest and to defend their civil rights. And secondly, there is a saying: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. This can be said about Navalny as a person who now personifies the protests, and whom they went to defend… In fact, the Russians went out to defend not Navalny but themselves. But he is Putin’s enemy, so we support the freedom of Navalny and all the people who stand for that freedom,” Kuleba said.
The Foreign Minister believes that Navalny will have to apologise to Ukraine. “Navalny will also have to apologise for Russian aggression if he eventually leads Russia as a result of democratic elections or take some political position in the system. But, as I said, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Therefore, if Navalny is Putin’s enemy, then we support Navalny. It’s very simple,” Kuleba noted.
As a reminder, on 18 January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine announced that it regards the detention of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow as an infringement on human rights and suppression of freedom of speech.
On 23 January, Kuleba said that Ukraine strongly condemns the violence against peaceful protesters and the arrests of opposition leaders in Russia, who rallied en masse in various Russian cities after Navalny‘s detention.
In turn, the EU foreign ministers will discuss the detention of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny today. New sanctions against the Russian authorities may become the topic of the meeting, but the final decision is likely to be made only after the court hearing in the opposition leader’s case.