Prison doctors have decided to transfer Russia's main opposition leader Alexei Navalny to hospital, its prison authority said on Monday, 20 days into a hunger strike that has brought international warnings of consequences should he die in jail.
PLEASE NOTE: VIDEO HAS BEEN RESENT TO MAKE CLEAR THAT NAVALNY IS BEING TAKEN TO A PRISON HOSPITAL Prison doctors decided to transfer Russian Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to hospital on Monday (April 19), according to prison authorities.
The move comes 20 days into his hunger strike, which has sparked international warnings of consequences should he die while behind bars.
Russia's prison service said in a statement that Navalny would be taken to a regional prison hospital, his condition was "satisfactory" and that he was being given "vitamin therapy" with his consent.
Navalny's allies, who've had no access to him since last week, say they are braced for bad news about his health.
They are calling for mass countrywide protests this weekin a bid to save his life, which they hope will be the largest in modern Russian history.
But the Kremlin has said any unauthorized protests in support of Navalny will automatically be considered illegal.
The fate of 44-year-old Navalny adds to Russia's severely strained ties with the West.
The U.S. imposed new measures last week, targeting sovereign debt and blacklisting Russian companies.
And President Biden's national security adviser said Sunday (April 18) that the government had told Russia "there will be consequences" if Navalny dies in prison.
The Kremlin have shrugged off the pressure, and says Russia will continue to respond in kind if further sanctions are imposed.
European Union foreign ministers are also expected to discuss the Navalny case on Monday.
Josep Borrell is the bloc's top diplomat.
"We are very much worried about the health situation of Mr Navalny.
Yesterday, we issued a statement on behalf of the 27 (European Union) member states asking the Russian authorities to provide the healthcare he needs.
They are responsible for (his) safety." Navalny says prison authorities are threatening to put him in a straitjacket to force-feed him.
Russia accuses him of exaggerating his medical condition to grab attention, and of refusing prison medical care.