Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny announced on Friday that he would start gradually ending a hunger strike that he declared in jail on March 31 to demand proper medical care for back and leg pain.
In an Instagram post, the fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he still demanded that he be seen by a doctor of his own choosing and that he was losing feeling in some parts of his arms and legs.
Nonetheless, Navalny said he had been twice seen by civilian doctors. He added it would take him 24 days to gradually end the hunger strike and thanked the “good people” in Russia and all over the world for their support.
“Thank you – I have now been examined twice by a panel of civilian doctors. The last time was just before the rally. They are doing tests and analyses and giving me the results and conclusions,” the opposition leader wrote.
“I am not withdrawing my request to allow the necessary doctor to see me – I am losing feeling in areas of my arms and legs, and I want to understand what it is and how to treat it, but considering the progress and all the circumstances, I am beginning to come out of the hunger strike,” he said.
Navalny is the main focus of opposition to Putin, and his failing health after 3 weeks on hunger strike had drawn expressions of alarm from Western governments. Thousands of his supporters demonstrated in cities all across Russia on Wednesday.
The United States had warned Russia it would face “consequences” if Navalny died.
The Kremlin critic survived a poison attack with a nerve agent last year, which Moscow denied carrying out.