WASHINGTON DC: Russia should expect strong US response if jailed political leader Alexei Navalny dies during a hunger strike in prison, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Dec. 19. April.
“We have reported (in Russia) that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies,” Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.
Sullivan did not name any specific action the United States would take if Navlany died.
Sullivan’s warning was issued when Navalny’s supporters warned that the Kremlin critic’s health was deteriorating.
Navalny, imprisoned, has been on hunger strike since March 31.
Sullivan noted that the administration treats the issue “privately” while remaining in communication “through direct diplomatic channels at the highest levels of the Russian government.”
“People usually avoid the word ‘die.’ But now Alexey is dying. In his state, it’s a matter of days,” Russian opposition press secretary Kira Yarmysh posted on Saturday.
“Our patient could die at any time,” Yaroslav Ashikhmin, a doctor who supports Navalny, warned in a Facebook post after making public the results of medical tests given to him by Navalny’s family.
Navalny supporters have said they will hold large rallies across Russia next week in solidarity with Navalny.
“Things are developing too fast and too badly,” a pro-Navalny group wrote in a statement on Navalny’s website. “We can no longer wait and postpone. An extreme situation demands extreme decisions.”
In 2020, Navalny was poisoned by a Russian nerve agent. He recovered in a German hospital.
After returning to Russia, Navalny was arrested and sentenced to prison.
“It’s totally totally unfair, totally inappropriate and, based on being poisoned and then on hunger strike, it’s wrong,” U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters on Saturday.
Navalny previously received international news for investigations into the Russian government and the inner circle of President Vladimir Putin.