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Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny to be moved to a hospital

Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny to be moved to a hospital

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is currently on hunger strike in a penal colony east of Moscow, with his doctors warning he could die "any minute" AFP/Handout

MOSCOW: The Russian state penitentiary service said on Monday (Apr 19) a decision has been made to transfer imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in the third week of a hunger strike, to a hospital.

The announcement comes two days after Navalny’s physician said his health was deteriorating rapidly and the 44-year-old Kremlin critic could be on the verge of death.

The state prison service, FSIN, said in a statement that Navalny would be transferred to a hospital for convicts located in another penal colony in Vladimir, a city 180km east of Moscow.

According to the statement, Navalny’s condition is deemed “satisfactory” and he has agreed to take vitamin supplements.

READ: EU foreign ministers talk amid uproar over Ukraine, Navalny

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday the bloc holds Russia "responsible" for Navalny's health situation, as EU foreign ministers held virtual talks on soaring tensions with Moscow.

Borrell said Navalny's condition was "very worrisome" and repeated a call for immediate access to be granted for medical professionals he trusts.

Lithuania said its Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis would propose that the EU "take immediate measures" at the video talks of the bloc's top diplomats Monday.

"If the international community does not respond, the regime's opposition leader will be sent silently to his death," Landsbergis said.

READ: Mass protests called across Russia to 'save Navalny's life'

READ: Kremlin critic Navalny could 'die any minute', say doctors

Navalny’s physician, Yaroslav Ashikhmin, said on Saturday that test results he received from Navalny’s family show him with sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.

Navalny went on hunger strike to protest the refusal to let his doctors visit when he began experiencing severe back pain and a loss of feeling in his legs. Russia’s state penitentiary service has said that Navalny is receiving all the medical help he needs.

In response to the alarming news about Navalny’s health this weekend, his allies have called for a nationwide rally on Wednesday, the same day that President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to deliver his annual state of the nation address.

Source: Agencies/jt
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