Russia's jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny said Moscow's military defeat in Ukraine is "inevitable," even if the Kremlin sends more troops to the pro-Western country.

The 46-year-old is serving a nine-year sentence on embezzlement charges that his supporters see as punishment for him challenging the Kremlin.

In a statement released ahead of the first anniversary of Russia's offensive in Ukraine, Navalny said Ukraine should be allowed to determine its own fate and that Russia should respect its 1991 borders.

"The lives of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have been senselessly ruined," Navalny said in the statement that he called his "political platform."

"The final military defeat can be delayed at the cost of the lives of hundreds of thousands of additional reservists, but on the whole it is inevitable."

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Navalny stressed that "tens of thousands of innocent Ukrainians" had been killed because President Vladimir Putin, 70, wanted to cling to power "at any cost."

He said that Russia should respect Ukraine's 1991 borders which included Crimea.

"There's nothing to discuss here," he said, adding that borders could not be changed as a result of war in the 21 century.

"We should be part of Europe and follow the European development path," he added.

Russia's highest-profile opposition politician stressed that Moscow should "leave Ukraine alone" and pay for the war-torn country's losses once the fighting ends.

He also said Russia needed a parliamentary republic, adding that Putin's "dictatorship" should be dismantled and free elections held.

Ukraine's Precipice
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The $61-billion military aid package from the United States, if passed as expected, will allow the Armed Forces of Ukraine to bomb troops and operations behind enemy lines.

Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-made nerve agent, in 2020. He barely survived, and accused Putin of being behind the attack.

He underwent treatment in Germany and returned to Russia in January 2021, where he was arrested upon landing at a Moscow airport.

 

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