| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Navalny’s spokeswoman arrested near house before protests, says lawyer

Kira Yarmysh, spokeswoman for jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, was arrested close to her house, her lawyer said on Wednesday, ahead of demonstrations planned across Russia over Navalny’s deteriorating health in jail.

Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol was detained earlier on Wednesday, hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver a state-of-the-nation speech to Russians.

An ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Monday she was braced for bad news on the health of the hunger-striking opposition politician when his lawyers see him again, after they were kept away over the weekend.

Navalny, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, started refusing food on March 31 in protest at what he said was the refusal of jail authorities to provide him with adequate medical care for acute leg and back pain.

“We don’t know what happened to him over the weekend because the lawyers aren’t allowed to visit him then. I hope we will get some news today but I’m very afraid to receive bad news,” his ally, Lyubov Sobol, told Ekho Moskvy radio station.

“I think there is no hope we will receive good news about his health today. I think his state is really very close to critical, close to being very grave. Twenty days on hunger strike – that is an awful lot.”

Navalny’s allies said at the weekend his life was hanging by a thread, and announced plans for what they hope will be the largest demonstrations in modern Russian history on Wednesday.

  • Reuters