Sun, 17 Jan 2021 18:36:14 +0000 The plane carrying Alexei Navalny to Russia was abruptly redirected to a different Moscow airport. Police arrested several of his supporters, who had been waiting to welcome Navalny at his scheduled destination.
MOSCOW — The plane carrying Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny landed Sunday in Moscow, where he faces the threat of arrest.
But the flight landed at a different airport than had been scheduled, a possible attempt to outwit journalists and supporters who wanted to witness the return.
Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and determined foe, was returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from poisoning by a nerve agent, which he blames on the Kremlin.
Russia’s prison service last week issued a warrant for his arrest, saying he had violated the terms of suspended sentence he received on a 2014 conviction for embezzlement. The prison service has asked a Moscow court to turn Navalny’s 3 1/2-year suspended sentence into a real one.
After boarding the Moscow flight in Berlin on Sunday, Navalny said of the prospect of arrest: “It’s impossible; I’m an innocent man.”
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.