Alexei Navalny’s private doctors on Thursday urged him to stop his hunger strike as soon as possible after the jailed Kremlin critic began refusing food three weeks ago.
Cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin and four other doctors said in a statement calling on President Vladimir Putin’s most important domestic opponent “to immediately stop the hunger strike to preserve your life and health”.
“If the hunger strike continues a little longer, we simply won’t have anyone to treat anytime soon,” doctors said in a statement published by Mediazona, an independent Russian news website.
On March 31, the 44-year-old opposition politician went on a hunger strike to demand adequate medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands.
Navalny doctors said thanks to “enormous” public support Navalny was taken to a civilian hospital in the central city of Vladimir on Tuesday and had access to “something that looks like an independent examination”.
Doctors added that they had received the results of Navalny’s health assessment and medical tests earlier Thursday and would inform the opposition figure of their opinion the next day.
Navalny’s doctors said last weekend he could die “at any moment,” pointing to the opposition politician’s high potassium levels.
On Wednesday evening, thousands of Russians took to the streets across the country after the West warned the Kremlin that it would face “consequences” in the event of Navalny’s death.
More than 1,900 people were arrested during Wednesday’s protests, including more than 800 people in St. Petersburg, according to OVD-Info which monitors opposition protests.
In a new Instagram post Thursday, Navalny said he was full of “pride and hope”.
Navalny’s right-hand man Leonid Volkov said the opposition politician’s doctors received information about his health because Russian authorities responded to public pressure.
“It is very sad to have to refuse food for 23 days to achieve such a result,” Volkov said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and is posted by a syndicated feed.)