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Putin critic Navalny said in life-threatening condition as he hunger strikes in Russian jail

FILE: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a hearing on his charges for defamation in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 16, 2021. (Babuskinsky District Court Press Service via AP)
FILE: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a hearing on his charges for defamation in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 16, 2021. (Babuskinsky District Court Press Service via AP)

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny risks cardiac arrest “any minute” as his health has rapidly deteriorated, doctors warn, urging immediate access to Russia’s most famous prisoner.

On March 31, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent — who was imprisoned in February — went on hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands.

Navalny is serving two and a half years on old embezzlement charges in a penal colony in the town of Pokrov around 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Moscow.

Navalny’s personal doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva and three more doctors, including a cardiologist, have asked prison officials to grant them immediate access.

Their letter to the head of Russia’s Federal Prison Service has been posted on Vasilyeva’s Twitter account.

In the letter to the prisons chief, the doctors said Navalny, who was critically ill after a poisoning with the Novichok nerve agent, could suffer “cardiac arrest.”

They said he had to be examined immediately “taking into account the blood tests and his recent poisoning.”

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