MOSCOW — The Russian state penitentiary service said Monday a decision has been made to transfer imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in the third week of a hunger strike, to a hospital.
The announcement comes two days after Navalny’s physician said his health was deteriorating rapidly and the 44-year-old Kremlin critic could be on the verge of death.
The state prison service, FSIN, said in a statement that Navalny would be transferred to a hospital for convicts located in another penal colony in Vladimir, a city 180 kilometers (110 miles) east of Moscow. According to the statement, Navalny’s condition is deemed “satisfactory” and he has agreed to take vitamin supplements.
Navalny’s physician, Yaroslav Ashikhmin, said Saturday that test results he received from Navalny’s family show him with sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.
Navalny went on hunger strike to protest the refusal to let his doctors visit when he began experiencing severe back pain and a loss of feeling in his legs. Russia’s state penitentiary service has said that Navalny is receiving all the medical help he needs.
In response to the alarming news about Navalny’s health this weekend, his allies have called for a nationwide rally on Wednesday, the same day that President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to deliver his annual state of the nation address.