MOSCOW (AP) – The doctor of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is on a third week of hunger strike, says his health is deteriorating rapidly, with the 44-year-old Kremlin critic on the verge of death.
Dr Yaroslav Ashikhmin said on Saturday that the results of a test from the Navalny family showed that he had severely high levels of potassium, which could lead to heart failure, and high levels of creatinine, which indicates kidney failure.
“Our patient could die at any time,” he said in a Facebook post.
Anastasia Vasileva, head of the Navalny Doctors’ Union with the support of Navalny, said on Twitter that “immediate steps must be taken.”
Navalny is the most visible and courageous opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
His personal doctors were not allowed to see him in prison. He went on a hunger strike to complain about not being allowed to visit when he started having severe back pain and loss of sensation in his legs. Russia’s state penitentiary service says Navalny is receiving all the medical treatment he needs.
Navalny was arrested on January 17 while returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering for five months after being poisoned by a Soviet nerve agent he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian officials have denied involvement, even questioning Navalny’s poisoning, as confirmed by several European laboratories.
He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on the grounds that his prolonged recovery in Germany violated a suspended sentence in a case convicted of fraud in a case that Navalny said had political motives.