Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has been moved from a penal colony to a regional hospital for prisoners east of Moscow as concerns grow over his health.
Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) said in a statement Monday that the opposition leader had been moved to the hospital, which specializes in “dynamic” observation of patients. The hospital is located on the “territory” of another penal colony, in the Vladimir region.
The statement said that Navalny was in “satisfactory” condition and is being examined by a doctor every day. With Navalny’s consent, he has been prescribed “vitamin therapy,” the penitentiary service added.
Navalny has been on hunger strike since March 31, demanding “proper medical care” and to be examined by an independent doctor.
Navalny’s supporters say that his medical condition is rapidly deteriorating. His press secretary said over the weekend that Navalny was “dying” and his doctors said medical tests showed he was at growing risk of renal failure and heart problems.
The move comes as international concern around Navalny’s health builds, with some countries condemning Russian authorities.
On Sunday, United States national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the Biden administration was weighing options to punish Russia if Navalny dies in state custody.
“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.”
The escalating situation has led Navalny’s allies to announce rallies across Russia on April 21 in support of him.
Russia’s Interior Ministry has warned people to “refrain from participating in unauthorized actions,” citing coronavirus restrictions.
The ministry said in a Monday statement that law enforcement agencies will not allow citizens “to destabilize the situation and will take all necessary measures to maintain law and order in the regions of the country.”
“Any aggressive actions of participants of unauthorized public events, and even attempts to provoke clashes with law enforcement officers, will be regarded as a threat to public safety and [be] immediately stopped,” it said.
Russian police detained thousands of people in January as protesters took to the streets across the country demanding Navalny’s release.
Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.
Russian officials have denied any involvement and even questioned whether Navalny was poisoned, which was confirmed by several European laboratories.
Navalny was ordered to serve two and a half years in prison on the grounds that his long recovery in Germany violated a suspended sentence he had been given for a fraud conviction in a case that Navalny says was politically motivated.