Hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny “will not be allowed to die in prison,” the Russian ambassador in London tells the BBC.
The 44-year-old, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent, began a hunger strike on March 31 to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands.
“Of course, he will not be allowed to die in prison, but I can say that Mr Navalny, he behaves like a hooligan,” says ambassador Andrei Kelin.
“His public purpose, all of that, is to attract attention for him also — by saying that today his left hand is sick. Tomorrow his leg is sick.”
Navalny was arrested in January upon returning to Russia after recovering from a near-fatal poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by Moscow.
On Saturday, Navalny’s doctors said his health had rapidly deteriorated and demanded that prison officials grant them immediate access.
“If he will behave normally, he will have a chance to be released earlier,” Kelin told the British broadcaster.