Kremlin critic Navalny could ‘die any minute’, say doctors

  • Kremlin critic Navalny could ‘die any minute’, say doctors

Kremlin critic Navalny could ‘die any minute’, say doctors

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny "is dying" and could suffer a cardiac arrest at "any minute", his doctor warned today as medics are barred from the penal colony.

Joe Biden said Alexei Navalny was in a "totally unfair" situation.

On March 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent opponent went on hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands. He is serving two and a half years in a notorious prison colony on charges of violating parole of his old suspended sentence for fraud.

Navalny's personal doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva and three more doctors, including a cardiologist, have asked prison officials to grant them immediate access.

Physician Yaroslav Ashikhmin said that test results he received from the 44-year-old's family show him with sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.

Mr Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Russian Federation from Germany, where had spent five months recovering from Soviet nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

Navalny barely survived a poisoning with the Novichok nerve agent in August which he has blamed on the Kremlin.

Prison authorities said Mr Navalny refused proper treatment and insisted he should be treated by a doctor of his choice from outside the facility, a request they have denied.

"A patient who has such a level of potassium should be monitored in intensive care, because he may develop a fatal case of arrhythmia at any time".

"If you don't give up the hunger strike, then we are ready to switch to force-feeding now", he quoted the unnamed prison administrator as saying to him.

The medics said he had to be examined immediately "taking into account the blood tests and his recent poisoning".

More than 70 prominent worldwide writers, artists and academics, including Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave and Benedict Cumberbatch, have called on Putin to ensure that Navalny receives proper treatment immediately. Navalny's were at 7.1, the doctors said.

Their appeal was published late Friday by France's Le Monde newspaper.

Navalny's wife said this week that he "speaks with difficulty" and has lost significant amounts of weight (from 93 kilograms when first jailed in February to 85 kilograms at the start of the hunger strike to 76 kilograms as of Tuesday).