Navalny taken to hospital as fears for his life grow

Navalny taken to hospital as fears grow for health of jailed Kremlin critic

The United States has warned Russia of unspecified "consequences" should Navalny die in Russian jail, and the White House said Monday that it is monitoring the situation closely. In recent years, Mr. Navalny, through brilliant combination of investigative technique, video production and social media savvy, became the leading voice criticizing Mr. Putin, documenting how the onetime KGB officer in the Kremlin became mega-rich.

Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, almost lost his life from a suspected poisoning with a nerve agent a year ago.

Russian authorities, who have broken up previous allies and arrested thousands of people, said the planned protests were illegal and warned people not to take to the streets.

His supporters say Navalny was abused by prison officials.

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.

"He must be treated humanely", she said.

At the end of March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, discussed bilateral cooperation and agreed to continue to strengthen the Beijing-Moscow partnership.

Doctors warned over the weekend that Navalny - now on hunger strike in a penal colony east of Moscow - could die "any minute", with his supporters calling for massive protests across Russian Federation on Wednesday evening, just hours after President Vladimir Putin delivers his state-of-the-nation address.

Navalny taken to hospital as fears grow for health of jailed Kremlin critic

The US intelligence community said in its Threat Assessment Report last week that the United States sees Russian Federation and China as its top challengers due to advancements in their military capabilities.

In response to the alarming news about Navalny's health, his team has called for a nationwide rally Wednesday, the same day that Putin is scheduled to deliver his annual state of the nation address.

But the sudden deterioration in his health this weekend prompted Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Navalny, to call for demonstrations to take place on Wednesday.

Human rights advocates say if that happens, both the foundation and the regional offices would be outlawed, paralyzing their operations, and those who work for either could be prosecuted.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a prison hospital.

Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors union and also the politician's personal physician, noted that it was "not a hospital where a diagnosis can be determined and treatment [can be] prescribed for his ailments", but rather "a prison where tuberculosis is being treated". He said he had been searched for two hours on arrival at the penal colony.

The Kremlin said on Monday it would retaliate for any further sanctions and rejected foreign countries' statements on the Navalny case.

Navalny has complained about being sleep-deprived because guards conduct hourly checks on him at night, and he said he developed severe back pain and numbness in his legs within weeks of his transfer to the colony. "He must immediately receive access to proper medical treatment".