GENEVA: Russian President Vladimir Putin says opposition leader Alexei Navalny got what he deserved when he was handed a prison sentence.
Navalny, Putin's most ardent political foe, was arrested in January upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin an accusation that Russian officials reject.
In February, Navalny was given a 2 1/2-year prison term for violating the terms of a suspended sentence from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he dismissed as politically motivated.
Speaking Wednesday after a summit with US President Joe Biden in Geneva, Putin said Navalny received his due punishment for violating the terms of his probation, adding that he was aware that he was facing a prison sentence when he returned to Russia.
He deliberately moved to be arrested, Putin said, sticking to his habit of not mentioning Navalny by name.
Last week, a Moscow court outlawed the organisations founded by Navalny by labeling them extremist, the latest move in a campaign to silence dissent and bar Kremlin critics from running for parliament in September.