Alexei Navalny detained upon his arrival in Russia

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Alexei Navalny detained upon his arrival in Russia
Alexei Navalny detained upon his arrival in Russia

New Delhi : The Russian Police detained top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny at the Moscow airport on Sunday minutes after he arrived home for the first time since he was poisoned in the last summer.

He was detained at the passport control at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after he flew in from Berlin despite warnings that he faces imminent arrest.

Soon after his detention leaders condemned the European Union and called for EU sanctions against Russia by Lithuania.

"The detainment of Alexey Navalny upon arrival in Moscow is unacceptable. I call on Russian authorities to immediately release him," European Council president Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.

EU member Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, meanwhile, said his detention was "totally unacceptable" and those involved should be targeted by sanctions.

Navalny was detained after a dramatic last-minute diversion of his plane from another Moscow airport. The way he has been taken in the police custody, it appears like the authorities have decided to not tolerate his activities. In the last decade, with the help of his anti-corruption campaign, he had emerged out as a prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin.

Four uniformed police in black face masks met Navalny at passport control and led him away after a hug and kiss from his wife Yulia, AFP journalists at the scene said.

"Alexei was detained without the reason being explained," Navalny's lawyer Olga Mikhailova told AFP at the airport. "Everything that is happening now is against the law."

Russia’s FSIN prison has claimed that they arrested Navalny for several violations of a 2014 suspended sentence for fraud, adding that "he will be held in custody" until a court ruling.