U.S. ambassador to Russian Federation set to return home for talks

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is currently on hunger strike in a penal colony east of Moscow with his doctors warning he could die

Russian prison authorities said Monday that Navalny has been moved to a medical ward at prison separate from the one where he was being held. "All that naturally has a negative effect on a starving man who already had no strength".

The Navalny camp plans mass countrywide demonstrations on Wednesday from Kaliningrad in Russia's far west to Vladivostok on its Pacific coast.

Russia's Interior Ministry on Monday issued a statement urging Russians not to take part in unauthorized rallies, citing coronavirus risks and alleging that some "destructive-minded" participants might provoke unrest.

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's fiercest opponent, was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin - accusations Russian officials have rejected. He and Western governments called this an attempted assassination.

Sentenced to two and a half years in prison for embezzlement, he began a hunger strike on March 31 demanding medical treatment for back pain and numbness to his hands and legs. The Kremlin has said he is exaggerating his condition to gain attention.

The US on Thursday announced sanctions and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats in retaliation for what the White House says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity.

But Borrell said there were now no proposals for new sanctions against Russian Federation.

The US has warned Moscow of serious repercussions if he should die in jail.


On Twitter, Ivan Zhdanov, head of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, or FBK, said the opposition leader's transfer meant that his condition "has worsened, and worsened in such a way that even the torturer admits it".

"The health of convicts in the Russia Federation can not and should not be a topic concerning them", said Mr. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Moscow has largely shrugged off global pressure since becoming a pariah to the West in 2014 when it seized Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and backed an insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

National security adviser Sullivan and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev spoke by phone on Monday, touching on the possibility of a summit that Biden has proposed to Putin.

Moscow said Sunday it would expel a Ukrainian diplomat, prompting an immediate pledge of retaliation from Kiev.

"Something is going on with Taiwan, something maybe is going on with Ukraine, this never was a big subject when I was president", Trump said, adding "I got along well with Putin, I got along well with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] until the COVID came in."
That comment prompted the recall by Moscow of the Russian ambassador to Washington for consultations last month.

Kiev has been battling Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014 and clashes intensified early this year, effectively shredding a ceasefire agreed last July.

Czech authorities accused them of involvement in a deadly 2014 explosion on its soil at a military ammunition warehouse that killed two people. The Kremlin has denied any role.

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