President Nikos Christodoulides on Saturday expressed shock and condolences following the death of Alexei Navalny, the prominent Russian opposition leader.

In a post on X, the president called Navalny a fierce defender of freedom and democracy.

“History will remember Alexei Navalny as a true and fierce defender of freedom, democracy, human rights, and as a symbol of courage and determination. Appalled and deeply saddened by his death in a Russian prison. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” he said.

Putin’s most formidable domestic opponent, Navalny fell unconscious and died on Friday after a walk at the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a three-decade sentence, prison authorities said.

There have been protests around the world and in Berlin, a crowd of 500 to 600 people, according to police estimates, gathered on the city’s Unter den Linden boulevard, chanting in a mixture of Russian, German and English.

Some chanted “Putin to the Hague”, referring to the international criminal court investigating possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.

Police used barriers to close off the road between the Russian embassy and the crowd.

Christodoulides on Saturday joined a slew of Western leaders that expressed condolences and shock over Navalny’s death.