Russia declares Navalny's groups 'extremist' in ongoing crackdown -lawyers

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FILE PHOTO: A police officer stands next to a car in front of a graffiti depicting Alexei Navalny in Saint Petersburg

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court on Wednesday approved a request by prosecutors to declare organisations linked to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny "extremist" in a move that outlaws the groups, his lawyers said on social media.

The ruling, which takes effect immediately, effectively bars the groups' members from running in a parliamentary election this year.

Navalny, who is serving a 2-1/2-year jail sentence on charges he says are trumped up, has denied extremism allegations, casting them as an attempt to stamp out opposition to the ruling United Russia party ahead of the parliamentary vote in September.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Leslie Adler)