In another stern warning, US administration said Monday the welfare of Kremlin criticAlexei Navalnyis the responsibility of the Russian government and that Russia would be held accountable if he dies.
The threat came amid reports that Navalny, who is in his third week of a hunger strike, had been moved to a prison hospital because of rapidly declining health and a statement from his doctor that the government opposition leader could be near death.
"What happens to Mr. Navalny in the custody of the Russian government is the responsibility of the Russian government," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
National security adviserJake Sullivansaid Sunday the United States would retaliate if Navalny dies. "We have communicated (to Russia) that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies," Sullivan said on CNN.
The threat marked the second day in a row the administration put Russia on notice that it would be held accountable for Navalny's welfare.
Reports about Navalny's rapidly declining health elicited international outrage and calls urging Russian authorities to provide the politician with adequate medical help. European Union foreign ministers were assessing the bloc's strategy toward Russia on Monday in the wake of news about his health.
The Russian state penitentiary service, FSIN, also said Monday that Navalny would be transferred from a penal colony just east of Moscow to a hospital for convicts in a prison in Vladimir, a city 110 miles from the capital. According to the statement, Navalny's condition is deemed "satisfactory."
The agency said the 44-year-old Kremlin critic had agreed to take vitamin therapy. But Navalny's physician, Dr. Yaroslav Ashikhmin, said Saturday that test results provided by the family show he has sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys./usatoday
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