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Russian priest arrested after announcing memorial service for Navalny: reports

A Russian priest was reportedly arrested Saturday after announcing he would hold a public memorial service for Putin critic Alexei Navalny in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Grigory Mikhunov-Vaitenko was reportedly detained outside his home on his way to the Solovetsky Monument, a memorial to victims of political repression in Moscow, according to the Moscow Times. Even after news of Navalny’s death was announced, mourners continued to lay flowers in his memory.

Mihonv Vaitenko’s wife Natalia Sivokhina also posted on Facebook after the priest was reportedly detained.

Russian Duma speaker accuses US, EU, NATO and others of killing Putin’s opponent Navalny

Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, declared Navalny murdered in a social media post on Saturday, a day after Russian prison authorities announced his death on Friday. Navalny was being held at the IK-3 penal colony in Harup, Russia, also known as the “Arctic Wolf.”

Alexei Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, declared Navalny murdered through a social media post on Saturday, a day after Russian prison authorities announced his death on Friday. Navalny was being held in the IK-3 penal colony, also known as “Polar Wolf.” Harp, Russia. (AP/Alexander Zemlyanichenko)

According to the agency, he felt unwell after taking a walk and lost consciousness. An ambulance arrived for rehabilitation, but he died, the statement said. Navalny was 47 years old.

Alexei Navalny’s wife sends message to Putin after news of her husband’s death

He previously ran for office advocating reform of what he called Russian corruption. He has also organized anti-government demonstrations and was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2020 after being poisoned with the suspected nerve agent Novichok.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in court

Alexei Navalny previously ran for office on a platform of reforming what he claims is corruption in Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlyanichenko, File)

Navalny remained in a coma for several weeks, and German doctors struggled to save his life. He blamed President Putin for ingesting the poison.

alexei navalny

Alexei Navalny has previously organized anti-government protests and was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2020 after being poisoned with the suspected nerve agent Novichok. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlyanichenko)

Navalny later returned to Russia in 2021, but was quickly arrested by authorities and later sentenced to 19 years in prison on extremism charges. His team has repeatedly raised concerns about his treatment upon his return, and Navalny has said his charges are politically motivated.

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FOX News’ Timothy Nerozzi and Greg Norman contributed to this report.

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