The White House has denounced the Russian government for its handling of a series of country-wide protests which resulted in the arrest of more than a thousand people, including President Vladimir Putin's leading opponent.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that the arrests were an affront to "core democratic values" and said that the Russian people deserved a government that supports open ideas and "transparent and accountable governance."
"The United States strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters throughout Russia," Spicer told reporters.
"Detaining peaceful protesters and journalists is an affront to core democratic values," he continued.
"The United States will monitor the situation and we will call on the government of Russia to immediately release all peaceful protesters.
"The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law and the ability to exercise their right without fear or retribution."