WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding Sunday’s protests in Russia:

“I strongly condemn Vladimir Putin’s violent crackdown on the people of Russia who are speaking out for their basic rights and dignity—which are enshrined in Russian and international law—and I call on Russian authorities to respect the freedoms of expression and assembly. Anyone who thinks Putin can be a constructive partner beyond Russia's borders should look at how he treats the people he claims to represent, silencing those who are fed up with the thieves and crooks stealing their country’s future.

“American policy should be on the side of the Russian people, not the tiny minority of kleptocrats. The Administration needs to be clear about where it stands, and when Secretary Tillerson visits Moscow next month, he should make anti-corruption efforts and the rule of law a top priority. Congress and the American people will be watching to see how the Trump Administration handles this issue.”