"The ruling of a court of the Russian Federation sentencing Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician, to prison, was to be expected. This is yet another step in the systematic restrictions to human rights and freedoms in Russia," said a Foreign Ministry statement.
"Charges against Navalny are politically motivated, and this has been recognized by the European Court of Human Rights on a number of occasions," it noted.
"We repeat our call for Alexei Navalny be released immediately and we once again also ask that Russia honour its international commitments.
"The European Union must respond, including through the application of sanctions against individuals who are involved in violating Alexei Navalny’s rights," the statement said.
Decision to imprison Russian opposition leader Alexey @navalny is both appalling cynicism and complete disregard of rule of law and international obligations by #Russia. He must be released immediately. #EU must impose sanctions, @coe must act as this is breach of ECHR ruling— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) February 2, 2021
Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš expressed similar sentiments.
Today's court ruling to imprison opposition leader @navalny proves an urgent duty of #EU to impose sanctions in order to stop the systemic repressions against Russian civil society, ensure @navalny release and compliance with Russia’s international commitments.— Krišjānis Kariņš (@krisjaniskarins) February 2, 2021