White House calls on Kremlin to ensure Alexei Navalny's health and safety

The White House called on Wednesday on the Kremlin to ensure the health and safety for Alexei Navalny. The Russian opposition activist is in the penal colony, and, according to reports, he has two spinal hernias and is starting to lose feeling in his hands his lawyer said.

Navalny experiences health problems at Russian penal colony

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“We are concerned about reports of Mr Navalny’s deteriorating health. We urge the Russian authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure his safety. As long as he is in prison, the Russian government is responsible for his health,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a press conference.

Mr Navalny started a hunger strike on March 31 to protest against poor medical care in the penal colony in Pokrov. On Tuesday, the head of the doctors’ union, Anastasia Vasilyeva, was detained by the police after trying to get into prison to talk to doctors.

The activist has been complaining for a long time about pain in his spine and right leg, as well as depriving him of sleep. At night, he is woken up by a prison officer who checks every hour if Mr Navalny, who is deemed to be “an escapee”, is present.

The Russian state prison service claimed that Alexei Navalny is receiving all necessary medical attention.