EU calls on Russia to release Navalny immediately, demands probe

European Council President Charles Michel gives a news conference at the end of a video conference of the members of the European Council on COVID-19, in Brussels, Belgium January 21, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Council President Charles Michel called on Moscow on Thursday to immediately release poisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was detained when he returned to Russia from Germany last weekend.

Speaking after a meeting of European Union leaders, Michel told reporters that an impartial international probe should be carried out under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into what happened to Navalny.

Navalny says Putin was behind his poisoning last August, a version of events that the Kremlin rejects.

The Kremlin says it has seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

Reporting by John Chalmers