Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized countries on Tuesday accused Moscow of arresting Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and called for the release of the leader and his supporters detained for protest activities.
Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was detained by police on Jan. 17 soon after he arrived in Moscow from Germany, where he had been recuperating for five months after a nerve-agent attack he blames on Russian authorities.
The G-7 foreign ministers from countries including the United States and Japan said in a statement that they are "united in condemning the politically motivated arrest and detention" of Navalny.
"We are also deeply concerned by the detention of thousands of peaceful protesters and journalists, and call upon Russia to adhere to its national and international obligations and release those detained arbitrarily for exercising their right of peaceful assembly" on Saturday, the statement added.
The ministers also said the events "confirm a continuous negative pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society, human rights defenders and independent voices in Russia."
The other G-7 members are Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, as well as the European Union.