Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he will return to Russia on Sunday, five months after he was evacuated to Germany following an assassination attempt. Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the incident, while insisting there is a lack of evidence in the case.
Nearly since the moment he emerged from a coma caused by the poisoning, Navalny pledged the assassination attempt would not dissuade him from going back to Russian Federation, prompting speculation on whether the Kremlin might seek to stop him.
Mr Navalny and his allies have accused the Kremlin of trying to block his return to Russian Federation by threatening him with jail.
Tatiana Stanovaya, head of political analysis firm R.Politik, said the Kremlin had repeatedly raised expectations that Navalny would be arrested and not doing so would risk being seen as weak by conservatives and the security forces.More news: Saved By The Bell Vet Dustin Diamond Has Been Hospitalized
"Simply because I never left", Mr Navalny wrote on Instagram.
Court documents published Tuesday showed Russia's federal penitentiary service has asked a court to convert Navalny's suspended sentence to real jail time, even though the suspended sentence had already expired on December 30.
In a parallel move just before the New Year, Russia's main investigative agency opened a new criminal case against Navalny related to his alleged mishandling of $5 million in private donations to his Anti-Corruption Foundation and other organizations. The European Court for Human Rights had ruled that his conviction was unlawful. Navalny has also dismissed those accusations as crudely fabricated.
"Putin again is stomping his feet and demanding everything is done to ensure I don't return home ..."More news: CES 2021: Samsung's Bot Handy acts as a housekeeper
"Putin is so furious I survived his poisoning that he ordered the FSIN to go to court and demand that my suspended prison sentence be changed to a real one", Navalny tweeted. "Come meet me", Navalny wrote on Twitter Wednesday, referring to a flight with a budget Russian airline.
Navalny fell into a coma while aboard a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20.
Western experts concluded that Mr Navalny was poisoned using the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok.
Last month, Navalny released the recording of an undercover phone call he said he made to a man he described as a member of a group of FSB officers who allegedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up.More news: IPad Pro 2021 Release Date, Price, Specs, and Features