Germany has called on Russia to provide “urgent medical assistance” to jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
A German government spokesperson said Mr Navalny‘s condition is critical as he faces inhumane prison conditions and solitary confinement.
The spokesman said the German government was trying to help Mr Navalny, but it was difficult due to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
It comes after nearly 500 Russian doctors signed an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to stop prison authorities from “abusing” Mr Navalny.
In the letter, doctors expressed “great concerns for the life and health” of Mr Navalny and say the “refusal” of Russian authorities to provide the necessary medicines was “directly threatening” his life.
Earlier this week, Mr Navalny’s lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, said he had come down with chills, fever and a severe cough.
He said the open letter from the doctors had an effect, with Mr Navalny given antibiotics and his condition had stopped deteriorating.
But in a later update, Mr Kozev said “medicines have not yet not been handed over” and Mr Navalny was feeling the same as the day before.
Navalny ‘deliberately infected’
Mr Navalny’s allies said the Kremlin critic had been placed in a cramped punishment cell for 15 days on 31 December – the 10th time he had been sent there in the space of five months, for alleged misdemeanors such as washing his face at the wrong time or failing to button up his prison uniform.
Posting on social media via his lawyers, Mr Navalny said authorities had deliberately infected him by placing a sick man next to him as a “biological weapon”.
His allies said there was a flu outbreak in the prison colony where he is being held.
His wife, Yulia, appealed to prison authorities in an Instagram post, writing: “Are you human? You have parents and children waiting for you when you come back from work.
“What’s going on in your head? How do you live, rejoicing that you deliberately infected a man and you don’t treat him or pass on any medicines?”
Outspoken Kremlin critic
Mr Navalny has long been an outspoken critic against Mr Putin.
In March, he was sentenced to nine years in prison after he was found guilty of large-scale fraud and contempt of court.
He has called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “stupid” and “built on lies”, while calling on fellow citizens to stage daily protests.
Mr Navalny was arrested in January 2021 after he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from nerve agent poisoning.
He had fallen ill on a flight to Moscow and was subsequently found to have been poisoned with novichok during a campaign trip to Siberia.