White House alleges consequences for harm to Navalny

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Then-US vice president Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2011.

European Union foreign ministers are set to meet virtually Monday for talks on the health of dissident Alexei Navalny, as the United States warned Moscow of "consequences" if the Kremlin critic dies in prison and tensions soared over a Russian military build-up on Ukraine's border.

Biden failed to publicly address the issue when speaking about recent sanctions against Russian Federation last week and was seemingly unaware of the opposition leader's condition when confronted by reporters. The Kremlin denies the allegation.

Yarmysh and other members of Navalny's team said they now fear that the Kremlin has made a decision to put an end to the challenge posed by him, by allowing him to die out of sight in the prison camp.

"Our patient can die any minute", Ashikhmin said on Facebook on Saturday, pointing to the opposition politician's high potassium levels and saying Navalny should be moved to intensive care.

A medical trade union with ties to the 44-year-old dissident said on Saturday that he was in critical condition, citing medical tests that it said showed that Navalny's kidneys could soon fail, leading to cardiac arrest.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for Navalny to receive immediate medical care as did the US State Department, while French President Emmanuel Macron said world powers should draw "clear red lines" with Russian Federation and consider possible sanctions when they are crossed.

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

Navalny Could Be Down to a Few Days, Doctors Say
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In response, the United States president told reporters that it is "totally unfair" and "totally inappropriate".

The activist's blood potassium level were at 7.1 mmol (millimole) per liter, his doctors said - higher than the level of 6.0 which usually requires immediate treatment.

"Alexei is dying", spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Saturday. "In his condition, it is a matter of days".

More than 70 prominent actors, writers, artists and academics, including Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave and Benedict Cumberbatch, have called on Putin to ensure that Navalny receives proper treatment immediately.

The open letter was published in Le Monde newspaper in France, The Economist, La Repubblica in Italy and Der Spiegel in Germany.

On Sunday, allies of Navalny also said they planned to stage large-scale street protests on April 21 to draw attention to his deteriorating health. Some protesters were unhappy that the demonstrations were halted, but organizers said they would hold a big protest once 500,000 people had registered online to take part.

As of Sunday, almost 460,000 people had signed up, but Navalny's team announced the protest saying they could not wait any longer.

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