US warns Russia of 'consequences' if Alexei Navalny dies

US warns Russia of 'consequences' if Alexei Navalny dies

Biden had said on Saturday that Navalny's plight was "totally, totally unfair, totally inappropriate".

The United States on Sunday warned Russia of consequences if Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny died in prison. Doctors have said on Saturday that the jailed politician can die "any minute". Aides of Navalny have called for nationwide protests to ensure there was no harm to Navalny's life. Navalny is currently on a hunger strike inside the jail.

US President Joe Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Washington had warned the Kremlin that it would be "held accountable by the international community" if Navalny died. Sullivan added that Kremlin was told "that there will be consequences if Mr Navalny dies."

Biden had said on Saturday that Navalny's plight was "totally, totally unfair, totally inappropriate".

On Sunday, France, Germany and the European Union (EU) joined growing chorus over Navalny's plight. EU foreign ministers are going to discuss the situation on Monday.

Russia has increasingly found itself cornered on many global issues. It is facing heat for its troop buildup near border with Ukraine. US has expelled Russian diplomats alleging Russian interference in US Election. Condition of Alexei Navalny may prove to be another front for Russia to face the global political heat.

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Navalny's team on Sunday called for massive protests across Russia on Wednesday evening, just hours after Putin is set to deliver his state of nation address.

"It's time to act. We are talking not just about Navalny's freedom but his life," Navalny's right-hand man Leonid Volkov said on Facebook.

Volkov said Wednesday's rally could become a decisive battle against "absolute evil" or Russia's last opposition rally for years to come.

"Call on all your acquaintances and take to central squares," wrote Volkov, who heads Navalny's regional offices, adding that the protests should be massive.

Who is Alexei Navalny?

The 44-year-old blogger has millions of Russian followers on social media - many in their early 20s or younger - and managed to get some of his supporters elected to local councils in Siberia in 2020.

His return to Moscow and immediate arrest on 17 January, after five months recovering in Berlin from a near-fatal nerve agent attack, triggered mass protests across Russia by his supporters. Police responded with force and thousands were detained for attending the unauthorised rallies.

He says Putin's United Russia party is full of "crooks and thieves" and accuses the president of "sucking the blood out of Russia" through a "feudal state" concentrating power in the Kremlin. That patronage system, he claims, is like tsarist Russia.

He speaks the street language of younger Russians and uses it as a powerful effect on social media. His Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has made detailed claims about official corruption.

They include the recent "Putin's palace" video on YouTube about a vast luxury Black Sea palace, allegedly gifted to Putin by rich associates. Its comforts are said to include a skating rink, casino and vineyard.

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