Madam President, we admire the courage, we admire the heroism with which these two men, Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Kara-Murza defy Vladimir Putin to make the voice of the other Russia heard. But that is not the only reason why we defend them and demand their freedom.

These men are not only brave, they are indispensable: to their country, to Europe and to the world. For if this war continues, Russia will soon be threatened with fragmentation and chaos. That day will see a new era of unrest threatening the largest of countries, and the whole continent – our continent – could be destabilised. On that day, we will all need, in Russia as elsewhere, the experience and wisdom of those men whom the despot in the Kremlin wants to kill in his dungeons.

So we say to you, Mr Putin: you are accountable for them. You have to make sure that they live and give them back their freedom.

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