Putin dismissed questions about Russia’s treatment of Alexei Navalny and instead referenced discord in the United States, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“America just recently had very severe events after well-known events, after a killing of an African American, and an entire movement developed known as Black Lives Matter,” Putin said. “What we saw was disorder, destruction, violations of the law, etcetera. We feel sympathy for the United States of America, but we don’t want that to happen on our territory, and we’re doing our utmost in order to not allow it to happen.”
He also suggested that the United States was silencing dissidents, referring to the arrests of suspects in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
“As for who is killing whom or are throwing whom in jail, people came to the U.S. Congress with political demands,” Putin said. “Over 400 people had criminal charges placed on them. They face prison sentences of up to 28, maybe even 25 years. They’re being called domestic terrorists.”
Putin then referenced Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot Jan. 6 when she ignored warnings and tried to crawl through an opening in a barricaded door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, which is the hallway outside the House chamber.
“One person was simply shot on the spot by the police, although they were not threatening the police with any weapons. In many countries, the same thing happens that happens in our country,” Putin said. “I’d like to stress once more that we sympathize with what happened in the United States, but we have no desire to allow the same thing to happen in our country.”
Earlier, answering a direct question about the poisoning of Navalny, Putin blamed the opposition activist for his own arrest, saying he had returned to Russia from Germany despite knowing there was a warrant out for him.
Putin refused to use Navalny’s name, referring to him as “this person.”