A Russian court jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Tuesday in a ruling which the opposition politician blamed on what he called President Vladimir Putin’s hatred and fear of him.
The Moscow court handed Navalny a three-and-a-half-year sentence but his lawyer said the anti-corruption blogger would serve only two years and eight months in jail because of time he has already spent under house arrest.
The widely anticipated ruling, which followed nationwide protests calling for Navalny’s release, is likely to further strain relations with the West, which is likely to consider imposing sanctions on Russia over its handling of the case.
The United States, Britain and Germany urged Moscow to immediately free Navalny, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington would coordinate closely with allies to hold Russia accountable.
A Navalny ally had urged the West before the hearing to hit Putin’s inner circle with personal sanctions.
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