Russian officials moved prominent opposition leader Alexey Navalny to a prison hospital for “vitamin treatment” after his team warned that he is suffering life-threatening symptoms during his hunger strike, The New York Times reports.
Russian officials said Monday that they have decided to move Navalny, who has been on a hunger strike for the past three weeks, to a hospital ward after his personal doctors expressed concern that he is suffering from a range of potentially fatal symptoms.
Navalny’s team said over the weekend that his blood tests showed a risk of imminent heart of kidney failure.
Doctors say the hunger strike is a contributing factor but his team says he may also be suffering from lingering effects from his near-fatal poisoning by a Russian nerve agent last year.
Navalny was arrested after being treated in Germany and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for a parole violation.
US warns of “consequences”:
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned that the Russian government would face “consequences if Mr. Navalny dies.”
“We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they will be held accountable by the international community,” he told CNN on Sunday.
The warning came after the US imposed a new set of sanctions on Russia in response to human rights abuses, election interference, and cyberhacks.
“If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further actions to respond. It is my responsibility as president of the United States to do so,” President Joe Biden said last week. “I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so, I chose to be proportionate.”
Russia downplays condition:
Despite moving Navalny, Russian officials said in a statement that his health is “evaluated as satisfactory.”
The Russian government previously claimed that Navalny was exaggerating his condition to attract attention but vows that “he will not be allowed to die in prison.”
Navalny’s personal doctor, Anastasia Vasilyeva, told reporters that the hospital where he was transferred is not equipped to treat him.
“This is absolutely not a hospital where they can diagnose and treat his problems,” she said.