Sen. Ben Sasse called out the White House on Sunday for not commenting on the suppression of Russian protesters.
The Nebraska Republican, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement Sunday saying Russian President Vladimir Putin's "thugocracy is on full display" and that U.S. leaders are expected to call out those who "trample the basic human rights."
"The United States government cannot be silent about Russia’s crackdown on peaceful protesters. Free speech is what we’re all about, and Americans expect our leaders to call out thugs who trample the basic human rights of speech, press, assembly, and protest," Sasse said in the statement.
Opposition rallies against the Russian government took place on Sunday in more than 80 towns and cities across Russia. In Moscow, reports indicate more than 650 people have been detained, including Alexei Navalny, Putin's most-prominent critic in Russia. The protests spurred from allegations that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev accepted more than $1 billion in bribes from state banks and wealthy businessmen.
President Donald Trump has come under criticism for his kind gestures toward Putin. The FBI also is investigating potential connections between Trump campaign aides and the Russian government, which US intelligence officials suspect tried to interfere in the 2016 elections to help Trump win.