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Macron and Merkel urge Putin to respect Alexey Navalny’s rights and ‘preserve his health’

Source: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin had talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel via video conference on Tuesday, March 30, the Kremlin reported. 

According to the readout from Macron’s press service, the German and French leaders called Putin’s attention to Alexey Navalny’s situation, underscoring the need to respect the imprisoned opposition politician’s rights in accordance with the European Convention and “preserve his health.” 

“Regarding the issue of Alexey Navalny raised by the partners, explanations of the objective circumstances of the case were provided,” the Kremlin readout says.

Putin, Merkel, and Macron also discussed the prospects for the registration of Russia’s “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine in the European Union, as well as possible deliveries and joint production of this drug in EU countries. 

The three leaders also had “an in-depth exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine,” and discussed developments in Belarus, Libya, and Syria.“Overall, the talks were held in a business-like and frank atmosphere. It was agreed to continue working together on all aspects of the current agenda,” the Kremlin readout says.

In February, a Moscow court revoked Alexey Navalny’s probation in the Yves Rocher case and incarcerated him under a reinstated sentence. He is currently in custody in Penal Colony No. 2 in the Vladimir region. In the past week, Navalny has complained about pain in his back and one of his legs, as well as a lack of access to medical treatment and “torture by insomnia.” Prison officials have declared Navalny’s health “stable and satisfactory.”

On March 4, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), began a rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine for use in the European Union. On March 24, Germany called for a start to negotiations on the purchase of Sputnik V, without waiting for the EMA to approve the drug. However, there is no consensus within the EU on the expediency of using the Russian vaccine. Putin has said that Russia “isn’t imposing” Sputnik V on the EU.

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