Russian Foreign Minister Says Kremlin Is Monitoring ‘Persecution’ of U.S. Capitol Rioters


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Ahead of a mid-June meeting in Geneva with Vladimir Putin, President Joe Biden said on Sunday he’ll bring up the issue of human rights with the Russian president. “I’ll be meeting with President Putin in a couple of weeks in Geneva,” Biden said during a speech marking Memorial Day, “Making it clear that we will not — we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights.”

On Monday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded by saying Russia is prepared to discuss the matter. “Of course, we will be ready to discuss everything, including problems that exist in the United States,” said Lavrov.

Lavrov stated that the Kremlin is monitoring what he called the “persecution” of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He stated that Russia was interested in the “protection of opposition rights” in the U.S.

Russia’s most notable opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was jailed in January upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from a nerve agent attack he says was ordered by Putin. He was jailed for violating the terms of a 2014 agreement stemming from a fraud charge. As part of that agreement, Navalny is supposed to regularly check in with Russian authorities, but he failed to do so last year because he was in hospital recovering from the attack. A lawyer for Navalny noted he had been in a coma for part of that time.

Putin’s government has long been criticized by human rights organizations for its crackdowns on opposition figures and intimidation of journalists and human rights workers via threats and imprisonment.

Some 500 people have been charged in connection with the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. While most have been released as they await trial, those who’ve been deemed to be potentially dangerous or flight risks remain in custody. Some are being held in solitary confinement, which has drawn criticism even from some Democratic politicians.

On the morning of January 6, then President Donald Trump held a rally in Washington, D.C. and encouraged attendees to go to the Capitol where Congress was about to certify the 2020 election results. He told them to “show strength,” and hours later rioters breached the building prompting many lawmakers to barricade themselves in their offices. Some of the rioters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” after Trump falsely suggested it was in the vice president’s power to overturn the results of the election that Trump lost.

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Mike is a Mediaite senior editor who covers the news in primetime.