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Thousands of Russians post selfies wearing red tops to show support for Alexei Navalny’s wife

Thousands of Russians have posted selfies wearing red tops to show support for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s wife.

Social media users shared the pictures after Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, wore a red jumper in court when her husband was handed his verdict earlier this week.

As his sentence was read, Navalny made a heart sign with his hands and smiled at Yulia, 44, from behind the glass panel of his holding cell. 

He told Yulia, who was crying as the verdict was read out: ‘Don’t be sad, everything will be fine’.

Fashion journalist and brand consultant Katya Fedorova has now encouraged other social media users to use Navalny’s words to his wife in a hashtag.

Fashion journalist and brand consultant Katya Fedorova (pictured above, wearing a red top) started the hashtag in an Instagram post that gained over 19,200 likes

As his sentence was read, Alexei Navalny, 44, made a heart sign with his hands (pictured above) and smiled at Yulia Navalnaya, 44, from behind the glass panel of his holding cell

As his sentence was read, Alexei Navalny, 44, made a heart sign with his hands (pictured above) and smiled at Yulia Navalnaya, 44, from behind the glass panel of his holding cell

Yulia pictured wearing a red jumper in court when her husband was handed his verdict earlier this week. She responded underneath Katya's post, commenting in Russian: 'Thank you!'

Yulia pictured wearing a red jumper in court when her husband was handed his verdict earlier this week. She responded underneath Katya’s post, commenting in Russian: ‘Thank you!’

Katya shared the post, which has accumulated over 19,200 likes, to Instagram one day ago.

She captioned: ‘I invite all those who care to post selfies wearing red, so Yulia and everyone else can follow the hashtag and see that we are many and we are not indifferent’, reports the Moscow Times.

Yulia responded underneath Katya’s post, commenting in Russian: ‘Thank you!’ 

It came as Navalny, in a note from jail, urged Russians on Thursday to ‘free’ the country from a ‘bunch of thieves’, while the Kremlin cast the arrests of thousands of protesters as a due response to the unsanctioned rallies. 

Navalny, 44, who was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, said in a statement posted on his Instagram account that ‘iron doors slammed behind my back with a deafening sound, but I feel like a free man.’

He added: ‘Because I feel confident I’m right. Thanks to your support. Thanks to my family’s support.’  

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s best-known domestic critic, was arrested on January 17 upon returning from his five-month convalescence in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning, which he has blamed on the Kremlin. 

Russian authorities deny any involvement and claim they have no proof that he was poisoned despite tests by several European labs.

One of the social media posts showing support for Navalny. Navalny, 44, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison earlier this week

One of the social media posts showing support for Navalny. Navalny, 44, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison earlier this week

Another social media user who shared the hashtag while dressed in red. It came as Navalny, in a note from jail, urged Russians on Thursday to 'free' the country from a 'bunch of thieves'

Another social media user who shared the hashtag while dressed in red. It came as Navalny, in a note from jail, urged Russians on Thursday to ‘free’ the country from a ‘bunch of thieves’

A Moscow court on Tuesday sent Navalny to prison, finding that he violated the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany. 

The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated and the European Court of Human Rights has ruled unlawful.

He said his imprisonment was ‘Putin’s personal revenge’ for surviving and exposing the assassination plot.

In a no-holds-barred response to the protest, police arrested over 10,000 protest participants across Russia and beat scores, according to arrest-monitoring group OVD-Info.

Speaking in a live YouTube broadcast, Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s chief strategist who is currently residing abroad, said the protests should pause until the spring after reaching a peak. 

He said that protesters won a ‘huge moral victory’ and argued that trying to maintain rallies each weekend would only lead to thousands more arrests and wear participants out.

US President Joe Biden made his first public comment on the matter, saying: 'Mr Navalny, like all Russian citizens, is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution'

US President Joe Biden made his first public comment on the matter, saying: ‘Mr Navalny, like all Russian citizens, is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution’

Instead, he urged supporters to focus on challenging Kremlin candidates in September’s parliamentary elections and securing new Western sanctions against Russia to press for Navalny’s release. 

He said Navalny’s team would try to make sure that ‘every world leader would discuss nothing but Navalny’s release with Putin.’

Hours later, US President Joe Biden made his first public comment on the matter, saying: ‘Mr Navalny, like all Russian citizens, is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution. He’s been targeted, targeted for exposing corruption. He should be released immediately and without condition.’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a phone call Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who raised the issue of Navalny, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. It said that Lavrov emphasized the need to respect Russian law.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia won’t listen to Western criticism of Navalny’s sentencing and the police action against protesters. 

‘We aren’t going to take into account such statements regarding the enforcement of our laws on those who violate them and Russian court verdicts,’ Peskov said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk