Russia issues arrest warrant for Alexei Navalny ally Leonid Volkov

·2-min read

Russia has issued an arrest warrant for Leonid Volkov, a close ally of poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, according to a media report.

Mr Volkov had been organising protests from his base in Lithuania to demand the release of the opposition leader, who was detained last month as he entered Russia.

A protest was planned for this Sunday, with Mr Volkov urging people to gather near their homes and light candles in heart shapes to flood social media.

"You will raise your phone flashlights - and someone, maybe, will bring candles - and form a heart shape with them.. You will take a picture of it from above, from one of the apartments, and post it on Instagram," he wrote in a Facebook post promoting the demonstration.

His actions have angered Russian authorities, who have been granted an arrest warrant by a Moscow court after he was charged with inciting minors to take to the streets, the Interfax news agency reported.

The warrant extends to a number of former Soviet republics, known as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Mr Volkov will be held in Russia for two months if and when he is detained or extradited.

However, Lithuania is not a member of the CIS and the Kremlin critic wrote on his Telegram channel that he will continue working and ignore the arrest warrant.

Mr Volkov left Russia in 2019 after the authorities opened a criminal case into suspected money laundering by Mr Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, which publishes investigations.

Interfax also reported that Mr Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, has flown to Germany from Russia.

Her husband had been treated in hospital there following his suspected poisoning with what the West says was a military-grade nerve agent.

Russia has questioned whether he was poisoned and denied any involvement.

Mr Navalny was immediately detained when he flew back to his home country, prompting tens of thousands to take to the streets in protest.