Jailed Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny will not be allowed to die behind bars despite his hunger strike, the Kremlin’s ambassador to Britain insisted yesterday(SUN).
Andrei Kelin said the imprisoned 44-year-old, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin and who accuses Moscow of trying to kill him in a novichok nerve agent attack last August(2020), would be freed “if he behaves normally”.
“Of course he will not be allowed to die in prison,” said the envoy.
“Mr Navalny, he behaves like a hooligan absolutely in trying to violate every rule that has been established.
“His purpose through all of that is to attract attention for him.”
Mr Navalny has been on a hunger strike for 19 days, to demand proper treatment for acute back pain and leg numbness.
Doctors say recent blood test results suggest he could suffer cardiac arrest or kidney failure at any moment.
Mr Kelin said: “He has got necessary medical treatment and believe me we will be able to take care of his medical treatment.”
He added that Mr Navalny, who is serving a two-and-a-half-year jail term, would be released from earlier if “he will behave normally”.
The London-based diplomat also denied Russia and the Ukraine were close to war amid a build-up of Russian troops on the border, describing it as a “normal preparedness exercises”.
But he warned: “Russia will respond if Ukraine starts a bloodbath.”
Relations between Moscow and its neighbour have left many fearing conflict, with tens of thousands of soldiers massing on the frontier.
The countries are thought to be the closest to battle than at any time since violence flared in 2014 in eastern Ukraine between government forces and separatists loyal to Russia.
“We are moving troops to tell Ukraine that there will be a price if they decide to advance on this territory and make a bloodbath on it,” Mr Kelin told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.
“Inside the Ukraine, on the line of demarcation between the self-declared republics of Donbass and others, there are 60,000 Ukrainian troops and this build-up continues.
“We need to be prepared for that, and the Russian army is prepared for that.”