The health of imprisoned Alexei Navalny, a chief critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is under the international microscope following a strong warning from the U.S.
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan had strong comments in an interview with CNN on Sunday.
“We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they will be held accountable by the international community,” Sullivan said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“In terms of the specific measures that we would take, we are looking at a variety of different costs … we have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies.”
President Joe Biden called Navalny’s treatment “totally inappropriate.” The administration has already hit Russia with sanctions over the alleged poisoning of Navalny and his imprisonment.
Speaking to CBS News, Navalny ally Vladimir Ashurkov said it was now a “life and death” situation, “and the doctors that usually observe them, when they saw the results of the tests, they said it’s a matter of days.”
Navalny, on a hunger strike for two weeks to demand proper medical care, has been transferred to a prison hospital, officials said Monday.
Navalny had expressed his innocence in explaining his hunger strike via Twitter recently.
“The right to invite a specialist for examination and consultation exists for every convict. Even for me, despite the fact that I’m not guilty,” he wrote.
Navalny is serving a sentence for missing parole hearings – because he was recovering in Germany from being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent in Russia.
Street protests are planned for Wednesday, Reuters reported, when Putin is set to deliver his annual state-of-the-nation speech. Russian police are warning those would be deemed illegal gatherings.
Putin’s government has repeatedly denied any role in Navalny’s poisoning.