Kremlin says Russia will not heed US calls to free protesters

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Kremlin says Russia will not heed US calls to free protesters

Moscow's Simonovsky court has ordered the administrative arrest of Russian opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny for 30 days for staging an unauthorized protest of the opposition.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that "We do not agree with such a statement of the question".

Separately, Ukrainian news outlets identified one of the commanding officers of the riot police in central Moscow as Sergei Kusyuk, who was formerly the deputy commander of the Berkut riot police in Kiev and took part in the crackdown on the Maidan protests against President Viktor Yanukovych.

Despite Mr Trump's announced intention to improve relations when he took office, several USA senators said they'd struck a bipartisan deal to expand sanctions against Russian Federation that will be debated this week. The nationwide protests - 169 licenses to demonstrate, with limitations, were approved - were the largest in Russian Federation since 2012.

More than a thousand were arrested.

Corruption was also the rallying cry behind the day of protests in late March, also organized by Navalny. Authorities had given permission for the rally, but Navalny late Sunday called for the location to change to one of Moscow's main avenues.

Tverskaya Street was closed to traffic for a holiday historical display. Moscow police said about 5,000 people participated in the Moscow demonstration.

The re-enactors watched the rally before riot police broke up the crowd and randomly seized the protesters.

He himself never made it to the protest as police arrested him in the stairwell of his apartment building before the rally began.

Monday's protests against President Vladimir Putin were held in more than a hundred cities and towns across Russia, the patriotic Russia Day holiday, but Navalny was arrested at his home in Moscow before he could join them.

Navalny, meanwhile, promises Russians a rule-of-law state governed by honest people, contrasting that with his allegations of corruption in Putin's government.

In his trademark humor, Navalny lamented on Twitter shortly before he was led out of the courtroom that he would have to skip a Depeche Mode concert while he is in jail.

Navalny has conducted a number of investigations into high-level corruption and publicized his findings in a series of videos, which have gone viral over the last few years. Some of the rallies were sanctioned by authorities and peaceful, but police cracked down brutally on others.

The Kremlin and top government officials deliberately try not to mention his name, and state TV largely ignored Navalny's last big protests, in March, too.

Pollsters say Putin, who has enjoyed an approval rating above 80 percent for more than three years, is not likely to have trouble winning if, as expected, he runs for a new six-year term in March.

A top German foreign ministry official on Tuesday criticized the arrest of more than 1,000 demonstrators in Russian Federation and said Berlin expected them to be released swiftly.

Several protesters in Moscow and St Petersburg were on Tuesday given 15 days in jail, including Ilya Yashin, the opposition leader and political partner of Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered in 2015. The Russian opposition's strength is undermined by factional disagreements.

Other images from the day show thousands of demonstrators in St. Petersburg chanting slogans against Putin - and black-clad police marching through the crowd, making arrests and pulling people off of monuments.

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