Putin critic Navalny ending hunger strike

Putin critic Navalny ending hunger strike
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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Friday announced on Instagram that he would end his hunger strike, following advice from his doctors.

“Thanks to the tremendous support of good people all over the country and all over the world, we have made tremendous progress,” Navalny’s Instagram post said.

“Two months ago, they only laughed at my requests for medical help and wouldn't give me any medication or allow to pass them to me,” the post continued. “A month ago, I was laughed in the face at phrases like, ‘Can I find out my diagnosis?” and ‘Can I see my own medical records?’ Thank you — now I've been examined twice by a panel of civilian doctors.”

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According to The Washington Post, Navalny does not have access to his Instagram account, but his posts are made by his allies.

The announcement comes just days after a Russian physician said that Navalny could “die at any moment” due to the hunger strike.

"A patient with this level of potassium should be observed in intensive care, as fatal arrhythmia can develop at any moment. Death by a cardiac arrest. The publication is coordinated with the relatives of Alexey Navalny," Yaroslav Ashikhmin wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Navalny has remained in prison since returning to Russia earlier this year and launched the hunger strike several weeks ago over complaints regarding access to medical care at the facility.

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The top critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin had returned to the country after seeking treatment for Novichok poisoning in Germany. The poisoning attack has been blamed on Moscow by Navalny himself as well as the governments of numerous countries, including the U.S.

Moscow has denied any involvement.

In comments Saturday, President Biden addressed Navalny's condition, calling his arrest and continued imprisonment "totally unfair."

The situation surrounding Navalny and his deteriorating health has become another tense issue in the already fraught relationship between the U.S. and Russia, with the Biden administration imposing sanctions on Moscow over a host of malign activity including election interference, reported bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and the massive SolarWinds hack of U.S. government institutions and private businesses.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanSenators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France France cancels DC gala in anger over Biden sub deal: report MORE said he had warned in conversations with the Russian government that the U.S. would impose costs on Moscow if Navalny died.

Senator Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Failed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat MORE (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Navalny’s situation “barbarism playing out in real time” and called for sanctioning Russia officials, the banking and financial sector if medical treatment was not provided.

“We must be perfectly clear that if he is not afforded this care, we are prepared to impose sanctions, not only on individuals, but on the Russian banking and financial sector," Menendez said during a committee meeting on Wednesday. "This is barbarism playing out in real time, and we cannot be silent.”

Laura Kelly contributed