Russian police raid Navalny's HQ after wife flees Moscow for Germany

Russian police raid Alexei Navalny’s offices after wife of Putin’s greatest critic flees Moscow for Germany

  • Police raid took place late last night at Alexei Navalny’s headquarters in Moscow
  • Photos posted by Navalny’s staff showed police bagging material including mug
  • Reports suggest police said they had received a report that pornography was being published at the office and that was the reason behind the late-night raid
  • It comes as Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya has fled to Germany as Putin’s critics face increasing pressure from the Kremlin in the wake of Navalny’s incarceration 

Russian police raided the headquarters for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny as his wife fled the country and headed to Germany.

The search by a dozen police ended about 1 a.m. It was not immediately clear if the police took away items as potential evidence, but photos posted by Navalny´s staff on social media showed them bagging material including a coffee mug.

Meanwhile, his wife Yulia Navalnaya landed in Frankfurt, Germany, yesterday according to local media reports.

The 44-year-old fled amid increasing pressure from the Kremlin on Navalny’s supports which saw her being detained during protests against her husband’s arrest.

There was no statement from police about the reason for the search of Navalny’s offices in Moscow.

The Mediazona news website that focuses on political repressions and human rights abuses cited a Navalny staff member as saying that police said they had received a report that pornography was being published at the office.

Russian police raided the Moscow headquarters for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny as his wife Yulia (pictured) fled the country and headed to Germany amid rising tensions in Russia

Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

He later was ordered to serve 2 and a half years in prison on the grounds that his time in Germany violated a suspended sentence he was handed in a money-laundering and fraud conviction.

The arrest sparked protests throughout the county on two weekends in January, in which a total of about 10,000 people reportedly were arrested.

Yulia Navalnaya was detained during one of the protests and posted a selfie onto her Instagram page with the caption: ‘Apologies for the poor quality. Very bad light in the police van.’

According to local media reports, she was released the following day and later fined 20,000 roubles (£196) for attending an ‘unsanctioned protest’.

The United States, Britain, Germany and the EU have urged Moscow to immediately free Navalny, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington will coordinate closely with allies to hold Russia accountable.

Yulia Navalnaya was detained after attending a protest against her husband’s incarceration

Pictured: Yulia Navalnaya arrives at the Moscow City Court to attend the trial of her husband

Earlier on Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said further sanctions against Russia needed to target the right people. 

In the wake of his sentencing earlier this month, allies of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called for immediate protests after the Kremlin critic was handed two-and-a-half years in prison for violating the terms of a 2014 conviction. 

At his sentencing, Navalny mocked Putin by giving him the nickname ‘Vladimir the Poisoner of Underwear’ and told a judge his trial is only taking place because the Russian leader had failed to kill him with Novichok.

Navalny told the Russian courthouse that Putin is ‘demanding to steal underwear from opponents and smear them with chemical weapons’.

He also said Putin wanted him imprisoned to ‘scare millions’ and warned the President that ‘people will realise.’

He then made a heart gesture to his wife who was sat at the back of court and said ‘Don’t be sad! Everything is going to be all right.’

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