Russian court orders arrest of Yulia Navalnaya on extremism charges

A Moscow court has issued an arrest warrant for Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

The court accused Mrs Navalnaya, who lives outside Russia, of participating in an "extremist" group.

The warrant is for arrest in absentia, meaning she would almost certainly be detained if she were to set foot in Russia.

Mrs Navalnaya, 47, stepped into the spotlight after she vowed to continue her husband's work after his death in an Arctic penal colony in February.

Following her arrest warrant, Mrs Navalnaya remained defiant of the Russian regime, writing on social media platform X: "When you write about this, please don't forget to write the main thing: Vladimir Putin is a murderer and a war criminal.

"His place is in prison, and not somewhere in The Hague, in a cosy cell with a TV, but in Russia - in the same (penal) colony and the same 2x3 metre cell in which he killed Alexei."

While Mrs Navalnaya's spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, described the court's ruling as a recognition of Mrs Navalnaya's "merits".

Other Navalny allies have also been targeted since his death.

In April two Russian journalists, Konstantin Gabov and Sergey Karelin, were arrested on "extremism" charges, accused of preparing materials for a YouTube channel run by Navalny's Foundation for Fighting Corruption, which has been outlawed by Russian authorities.

Mr Navalny died while serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges that he condemned as politically motivated.

His death certificate said he died of natural causes at the age of 47.

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The Kremlin has always strongly denied accusations by Mrs Navalnaya that the Russian president had the opposition leader killed, and has made limited comments on the public response to his death.

In a rare mention of his fiercest political foes name, Mr Putin called Mr Navalny's death a "sad event" during his presidential election victory speech, and said he was arranging Mr Navalny's release in an exchange of prisoners before his death, adding: "[But] unfortunately what happened, happened."