Putin critic Navalny 'will not be allowed to die in prison'

Russia's ambassador to the UK has said that opposition activist Alexei Navalny "will not be allowed to die in prison".

Navalny, 44, nearly died in August 2020 when he was poisoned with the chemical nerve agent, Novichock. He accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning, which the Kremlin denies.

Navalny was jailed in February on old embezzlement charges and has been on hunger strike for 18 days to demand proper treatment for acute back pain and leg numbness.

Doctors say recent blood test results indicate he could suffer cardiac arrest or kidney failure at any moment.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr in an interview recorded on Friday but broadcast on Sunday, ambassador Andrei Kelin insisted Navalny's medical treatment would be "taken care of", and claimed the real purpose of his calls for medical help was to "attract attention".

On Sunday, a number of countries joined the international protest against Mr Navalny's treatment. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN there would be consequences if Mr Navalny died and Russia would be held accountable by the international community.

France, Germany and the European Union have expressed their concern, and EU foreign ministers will discuss the situation on Monday.

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