Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny ends hunger strike after 24 days

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny ended his hunger strike after 24 days.

Navalny began refusing food on 31 March to demand better medical care.

He said he had twice been seen by civilian doctors and “given the progress and circumstances, I am ending my hunger strike”.

The process would be gradual, he added in an Instagram post.

His doctors had warned at the weekend he could die “at any minute”. Late on Thursday they warned him that “further starvation” could significantly harm him and lead to his death.

Navalny began his hunger strike after he complained of numbness and back pain and said he had not been given proper treatment by prison doctors.

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.

READ: Thousands of Russians protest against detention of Kremlin’s critic