Published: Mon, April 19, 2021
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Mass protests called across Russia to 'save Navalny's life'

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

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is three weeks into a hunger strike protesting the lack of medical attention he's received while in prison. Street demonstrations could symbolically start shortly after President Vladimir Putin is set to deliver his state of nation address on Wednesday.

Navalny has said prison authorities are threatening to put him in a straitjacket to force-feed him unless he accepts food.

The rights watchdog said Navalny is held subjected to sleep deprivation and that he did not have access to a doctor.

President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the United States government had told Russian officials "there will be consequences" if Mr Navalny died in prison. Navalny's were at 7.1, the doctors said. "The EU continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release".

Doctors warned over the weekend that Navalny - now on hunger strike in a penal colony east of Moscow - could die "any minute", with his supporters calling for massive protests across Russian Federation on Wednesday evening, just hours after President Vladimir Putin delivers his state-of-the-nation address.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden added his voice to a growing global chorus of protest at the treatment of the activist, describing his situation as "totally unfair".

Allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny unveiled plans on Sunday for what they hope will be the largest protests in modern Russian history on Wednesday as Washington warned Russia it would pay a price if he died in jail from his hunger-strike.

He is serving two and a half years on old embezzlement charges - which he says are politically motivated - in a penal colony in the town of Pokrov around 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Moscow.

In an interview with the BBC, however, Russia's ambassador to Britain accused him of attention-seeking.

On March 31, Putin's most prominent opponent went on a hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands.

Worldwide leaders and representatives, including U.S. President Joe Biden and the foreign ministers of France and Germany, are calling for Russian Federation to urgently take action to save the life of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who doctors say is at risk of dying of cardiac arrest due to being on hunger strike since March 31.

The US on Thursday announced sanctions and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats in retaliation for what the White House says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. "He must immediately receive access to proper medical treatment".

In light of Navalny's poor health, organizers said they were calling the protest on Wednesday anyway despite being around 40,000 people short of their target.

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