Bettel: did discuss Navalny in Putin talk
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel did bring up the fate of Alexey Navalny in a discussion with Russian president Vladimir Putin, his office said on Thursday, clarifying a press release that had failed to mention the name of Russia's most prominent dissident.
When Navalny returned to Russia after surviving an attempt on his life with a nerve agent, the country sentenced him to two and a half years in a labour camp on charges of embezzlement, which he says are trumped up.
Bettel had raised the case of Navalny while reiterating the European Union's commitment to the rule of law in its relationship with Russia, according to Liz Thielen, the prime minister's press secretary.
During the phone call, Bettel also said that he "regretted" the current state of EU-Russia relations and that the EU is ready to continue the dialogue with Moscow, Thielen says.
Putin said that his country is not seeking a confrontation with the EU.
The conversation took place to commemorate the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Luxembourg and Russia.
Economic ties between both countries run deep, with Luxembourg being the fifth largest provider of foreign investment in Russia. Much like France, Luxembourg favours dialogue with Moscow, even if it supports sanctions for breaches of international law such as the annexation of Crimea.
The two leaders had discussed climate change, economic cooperation and commemorating the Second World War, the press release said, as well as projects in the digital economy and the space industry.