‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’: Ukrainian FM announces support for Navalny despite his belief Crimea is a part of Russia
Ukraine's foreign minister has revealed his government supports the Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. The Moscow activist is a controversial person in Ukraine, as he believes that Crimea rightfully belongs to Russia.
Speaking to TV channel Ukraine 24, Dmitry Kuleba called Navalny "an enemy of Putin" and therefore a natural ally of Kiev.
"We have taken a tough, principled position," Kuleba explained, "First of all, it is wrong to beat people who came out to protest in defense of their civil rights. And secondly, there is a saying: the enemy of my enemy is my friend."Also on rt.com Prominent Kiev Russia-critic tells followers Navalny more dangerous politically for Ukraine than Putin, because of Western support
According to Kuleba, Russian citizens took to the streets to defend freedom – not only for Navalny, but for themselves.
"We should not also be enchanted by Alexey Navalny from the point of view of Ukraine's interests," he warned. "I am convinced that the sandwich will have to be returned, and not eaten and fresh, in good condition."
Kuleba was referring to a 2014 Navalny interview in which he called the Black Sea peninsula “a sausage sandwich.” Speaking to Echo Moskvy, Navalny revealed his belief that "Crimea is now part of Russia," and "will never again become a part of Ukraine, in the foreseeable future."
"Is Crimea a sausage sandwich, to be passed back and forth?" he asked.
Crimea became a part of Russia following a referendum in March 2014. The vote is not recognized by most of the world, which views it as an illegally occupied Ukrainian peninsula.
On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets across Russia to demand the release of Navalny, who was detained on January 17 after landing in the country. However, in Kiev, anti-Russian protesters chanted slogans against both Putin and the opposition figure, believing them to be enemies of Ukraine.
Navalny was arrested after being accused of violating the terms of a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence he received in 2014, after being found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. Once he goes to court, his suspended sentence could be converted into a real one, sending him to prison.
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