Boris Johnson has called on Russia to comply with its international commitments to freedom after the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and “large numbers” of protesters.
Mr Navalny was detained in Moscow during protests calling for a boycott of the March 18 presidential election in which Vladimir Putin is seeking a fourth term.
The Foreign Secretary urged Russia to stand by its commitments made to international bodies to allow freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
Mr Johnson tweeted: “Very concerned about detention of large numbers of Russian citizens during demonstrations today.
“We call on the Russian govt to comply with its international commitments in the Council of Europe and OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), to allow freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”
Mr Navalny was arrested as protests called by him, ranging from a few dozen to several hundred people, took place across the country.
He called on his supporters to continue their demonstrations despite his arrest, tweeting: “They have detained me. This doesn’t mean anything … you didn’t come out for me, but for your future.”