Kremlin hopes Huntsman's arrival will warm US-Russia relations

  • Kremlin hopes Huntsman's arrival will warm US-Russia relations

Kremlin hopes Huntsman's arrival will warm US-Russia relations

A day after he was sentenced to 20 days in jail, the Kremlin warned on Tuesday supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny against holding unsanctioned rallies.

Over the past year, Mr. Navalny turned into the pre-eminent critic of Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, exposing endemic corruption among top-level government officials in a series of popular videos. Previously, Navalny was sentenced to 15 days in prison for a protest on March 26th, also marked by hundreds of arrests.

The ruling would keep him away from a major rally this weekend. The sentence means he will miss a protest on Putin's birthday Saturday in the president's hometown of St. Petersburg.

Huntsman, whose nomination was approved by the Senate on Thursday in a voice vote, has said there is no question that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 US campaign, putting him at odds with Trump, who has downplayed that charge.

Khyzyr Mussakaev, a judge in the Simonovsky district court in Moscow, found him guilty of violating the law on public demonstrations and ordered him held for the third time this year. "This is a gift for Putin's birthday", said opponent after statement of judgment, while President Vladimir Putin celebrates his 65 years on Saturday.

In another Moscow courthouse, a judge is expected to hand down a ruling later Monday in the case of Navalny's campaign chief, Leonid Volkov, who faces similar charges.

The severe tension in bilateral ties stems in part from allegations that Putin violated that very principle: In January, the USA intelligence community said it found that Putin ordered an "influence campaign" targeting the 2016 presidential election in the United States.