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Biden calls poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny 'unfair' and 'inappropriate'

Joe Biden said Saturday that the treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is 'totally inappropriate'.

'It's totally, totally unfair, totally inappropriate,' Biden weighed in on the matter while speaking to reporters at Wilmington Country Club after a round of golf.

'On the basis of having been poisoned and then on a hunger strike. It's wrong,' the president said.

Russian physician Yaroslav Ashikhmin warned in a Facebook post Saturday that Navalny, 44, 'is dying' and could suffer a cardiac arrest at 'any minute'.

Medics are barred from the penal colony. 

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday: 'We have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Nalvany dies.' 

Joe Biden said Saturday treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is 'totally unfair, totally inappropriate,' as he weighed in on the matter while speaking to reporters at Wilmington Country Club after a round of golf 

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assured CNN on Sunday: 'We have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Nalvany dies'

He told CNN's 'State of the Union' in an interview on Sunday that Biden has decided to keep most of his discussions about Navalny's imprisonment private rather than broadcast it and make out-ward public demands.

'We have judged that rather than just make general statements publicly, the best way to deal with this issue is privately and through diplomatic channels direct to the upper-most levels of the Russian government,' Sullivan said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent rival was imprisoned in February and is serving two-and-a-half years on old embezzlement charges in the town of Pokrov, around 60 miles east of Moscow.

Six months earlier, he barely survived a poisoning with the Novichok nerve agent, which he has blamed on the Kremlin.

Then at the end of last month, he went on a hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands. 

This may have exacerbated his condition, doctors said, as they asked prison officials to grant them immediate access.  

'Our patient can die any minute,' cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin said on Facebook today, pointing to Navalny's high potassium levels and saying he should be moved to intensive care.

'Fatal arrhythmia can develop any minute.'  

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny 'is dying' and could suffer a cardiac arrest at 'any minute', his doctor warned today

A Russian police handler wearing a face mask patrols the entrance to the penal colony N2, where Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been transferred

Having blood potassium levels higher than 6.0 mmol (millimole) per litre usually requires immediate treatment. Navalny's were at 7.1, the doctors said.

'This means both impaired renal function and that serious heart rhythm problems can happen any minute,' said a statement on the Twitter account of Anastasia Vasilyeva, his personal doctor.

The medics said he had to be examined immediately 'taking into account the blood tests and his recent poisoning'. 

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, who accompanied him when he collapsed on a plane after the poisoning in August, said the situation was critical again.

'Alexei is dying,' she said on Facebook. 'With his condition it's a matter of days.'

She said she felt like she was 'on that plane again, only this time it's landing in slow motion', pointing out that access to Navalny was restricted and few Russians were aware of what was actually going on with him in prison.

More than 70 prominent international writers, artists and academics, including Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave and Benedict Cumberbatch, have called on Putin to ensure that Navalny receives proper treatment immediately.

Their appeal was published late Friday by France's Le Monde newspaper.

Navalny's team has earlier announced plans to stage what they said would be 'modern Russia's biggest protest'.

Navalny's allies said they would set a date for the protest once 500,000 supporters had registered with a website. As of Saturday, more than 440,000 people had signed up.

Navalny, pictured with his wife and children, was previously in hospital in Germany where he was receiving treatment for a poisoning attack before returning to Russia in January

Navalny is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on old embezzlement charges after he was jailed in February

Navalny was arrested on his return to Russia in January and sentenced to two-and-a-half years behind bars on old embezzlement charges, sparking a massive wave of nationwide protests

Yarmysh today urged more Russians to sign up, saying that a big rally could help save Navalny's life.

'Putin only reacts to mass street protests,' she added.

Earlier this week, Navalny's wife Yulia, who visited him in the penal colony, said her husband now weighed 168 pounds - down nearly 20 pounds since starting his hunger strike.

On Friday, Russian prosecutors asked a court to label Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation and the network of his regional offices 'extremist' organisations in a move that would outlaw them in Russia and could result in jail time for their members.

'The darkest times are beginning for free-thinking people, for civil society in Russia,' said Leonid Volkov, the head of Navalny's regional offices.

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