Navalny 'should expect arrest on arrival'

Ulf MauderAAP
Alexei Navalny has released a video saying he will fly home to Russia over the weekend.
Camera IconAlexei Navalny has released a video saying he will fly home to Russia over the weekend.

Leading Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny should expect to be arrested upon his arrival on Sunday in Moscow.

The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service said in a statement on Thursday that he was placed on a wanted list on December 29 with instructions "to detain him when his whereabouts are identified".

Navalny, 44, was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok in August and flown to Germany for treatment.

Despite the risk to his personal freedom, he announced in a video message on Wednesday that he would take a budget airline flight to Moscow on Sunday.

He wrote on Twitter that he never considered staying outside Russia as he had never left his homeland of his own free will.

"I arrived in Germany in a resuscitation box," he said.

The Federal Penitentiary Service is seeking to put Navalny behind bars for allegedly breaking the terms of a suspended sentence and probation he received in a 2014 fraud trial.

Navalny denies wrongdoing and says it is just a ploy to jail him.

The activist, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics who was previously jailed for his opposition activities, fell ill on a domestic flight on August 20 before being transported to Germany for treatment two days later.

Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden have determined that Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Russia over the poisoning.

Navalny has blamed the poisoning on the FSB, the Russian secret service, under Putin's orders.

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