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Kremlin Says Has No 'Respect' for Navalny's EU Human Rights Prize

Alexei Navalny is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence. Yuri Kochetkov / EPA / TASS

The Kremlin said Thursday it had no respect for a European Parliament decision to give the EU's top human rights award to jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. 

"We respect this body, but no one can make us respect such decisions," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, referring to the European Parliament.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to President Vladimir Putin's best-known domestic opponent. 

Peskov said the decision "significantly devalues the meaning" of words like freedom of thought.

The 45-year-old opposition politician last year survived a poisoning attack with Novichok nerve agent that he blames on the Kremlin.

After returning to Russia in January from Germany, where he was treated, he was arrested and convicted on old embezzlement charges. He is now serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence in a penal colony outside Moscow.

His winning the Sakharov Prize, backed by parliament's main political groups, will further embitter ties between the European Union and Russia that have been in crisis since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Navalny was nominated but passed over for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

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