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Protesters must respect the law or face the consequences, Russia President Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday protesters found to have broken Russian law must be held accountable.

In a CNBC interview at the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia, Putin was asked to respond to one of the largest outbreaks of antigovernment demonstrations in years. Putin opponent Alexei Navalny was ordered jailed for 15 days on Sunday on charges of resisting police orders during the mass protest.

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Alexei Druzhinin | Russian Presidential Press and Information Office | Handout/Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

"Everybody should act in political processes within the framework of the law. All those who go outside this law should bear punishment in accordance with Russian law," Putin said via an interpreter in his first public response to the mass rallies.

'Purely politicized' questions

Navalny was among several hundred protesters who had been detained in connection with unsanctioned rallies against government corruption throughout the country.

Several Western countries condemned the arrests and urged the Kremlin to release those sentenced to jail, including Navalny.

"We consider appeals of this sort to be purely politicized questions with the goal of putting some kind of pressure on the internal political life of the country," Putin responded.

The president also criticized anti-Russian sanctions from the U.S. and Europe and claimed the economic penalties were harmful to the respective economies.

Western countries had placed sanctions against Moscow after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine as well as Russia's part in the country's crisis.