| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Russia brushes off US threats of repercussions over Navalny health

Russia has brushed off US threats of “consequences” over the health condition of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, warning the West against making “provocative” calls for street rallies in his support.

US National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that Washington has “communicated (to Russia) that there will be consequences if Navalny dies.”

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the Kremlin did not have any reaction to Washington’s threats.

“We have no reaction to such statements made by representatives of other states,” he said.

Peskov also said that the Kremlin will not take into consideration what the West calls “concerns” over Navalny’s health conditions.

“Health conditions of convicts in Russia cannot and should not be of any interest to them [Western countries],” he added.

Navalny, who is serving a 2½-year prison sentence after being convicted of violating parole conditions, has allegedly been on hunger strike for three weeks over what he describes as improper treatment by prison guards.

He was transferred to a hospital within the prison system, prison authorities said Monday.

They said his health condition has been “assessed as satisfactory” and a doctor has been examining him every day.

Navalny has also consented to being prescribed “vitamin therapy,” they said.

Doctors with ties to Navalny, however, claimed that medical test results indicated he was at risk of imminent renal failure and a possible heart attack.  A spokesperson for Navalny also claimed that he was at risk of dying soon.

This has prompted calls for street rallies to demand Navalny’s release.

Russia warns against ‘provocative’ calls for rallies

The Russian Interior Ministry warned people against taking part in unauthorized street rallies, which Peskov said are being supported from abroad.

“Importantly, such provocative calls are coming from outside Russia again,” he said. “They come from some people who live abroad.”

Peskov said he does not know “whether anyone in Russian regions and cities has ever filed a request for any rallies.”

“In case any unauthorized rallies are initiated, they will be automatically considered as illegal and police will do what they must under Russian law,” he warned.

Navalny’s heath not Putin’s purview

The spokesman also said that President Vladimir Putin was receiving reports about letters from domestic and foreign figures concerning Navalny’s health conditions, but said that such issues were not within the president’s purview.

Putin “cannot take any actions regarding the monitoring of an inmate’s health” since this is the duty of the Federal Penitentiary Service and that there are certain procedures for that, Peskov said.

“Undoubtedly, all these procedures in the prison system are strictly regulated, everything is implemented there in compliance with the law,” he added.

Peskov also said that “the president is busy getting ready for his Address to the Federal Assembly  with the annual message,” on Wednesday.