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Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was arrested immediately after returning to the country for the first time since he was poisoned with a nerve agent. The plane carrying Mr Navalny from Germany, where the 44-year-old had been recovering from a poisoning he blames on Russian authorities, landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport around 8:15 pm. The pilot had told passengers there was a delay for “technical reasons” and then that the flight had been diverted from Vnukovo, another Moscow airport where Mr Navalny’s supporters and media had gathered for his return.
President Vladimir Putin’s most well-known opponent was returning to Russia for the first time since the poisoning in August, in defiance of warnings from officials that they would arrest him for breaking the terms of a suspended prison sentence.
Mr Navalny is defying the Kremlin’s threats to jail him under one of several active criminal cases, which are widely regarded as politically motivated.