Alexei Navalny sent to prison hospital in Russian Federation

Alexei Navalny sent to prison hospital in Russian Federation

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday respectively sent congratulatory letters to the ninth meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the ruling parties of China and Russia, held via video link.

Navalny was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he had spent five months convalescing from the Novichok nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin - an accusation Russian officials have rejected.

Navalny went on hunger strike on March 31 to protest against what he said was the refusal of prison authorities to provide him with treatment for leg and back pain.

Russia's prison authorities, which have barred Mr. Navalny's own medical team from visiting him, said its doctors had made a decision to move him to a medical facility on the premises of another penal colony outside Moscow.

The EU's chief diplomat Josep Borrell also said in a statement Sunday that Navalny should have "immediate access to medical professionals he trusts", adding that the issue would be discussed during a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers on Monday.

The Kremlin has dismissed the outcry, saying that Russian convicts do not concern Western countries.

Russia's prison service said Navalny, 44, was in a "satisfactory" state and he was being given "vitamin therapy" with his consent.

Russian authorities, meanwhile, escalated their crackdown on Navalny's allies and supporters, with the Moscow prosecutor's office asking a court to brand Navalny's Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his network of regional offices as extremist organizations.

The United States on Sunday (18 April) threatened Russian Federation with "consequences" if President Vladimir Putin's most prominent domestic opponent dies in jail. "The state of health of those convicted and jailed on Russian territory can not and should not be a theme of their interest", spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

In response to Navalny's deteriorating health, his associates have called for a nationwide rally tomorrow, the same day that Putin is scheduled to deliver his annual state of the nation address.

Russia has additionally provoked much consternation in the USA and other Western countries with a military buildup on the border to eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting government forces since 2014.

Borrell said that more than 150,000 Russian troops were now massed along Ukraine's borders and in the annexed Crimea peninsula. The Kremlin said Putin would take part in a separate online climate summit that Biden is hosting on Thursday.

Kiev has been battling Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014 and clashes intensified early this year, effectively shredding a ceasefire agreed last July.

Kuleba wrote on Twitter that he proposed a "step-by-step plan on how to discourage Moscow from further escalation".

The Kremlin had previously "recommended" that Sullivan leave the country temporarily.

Czech police said they were seeking two Russians in connection with the explosion and that the pair carried passports used by suspects in the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain in 2018.

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