Allies of jailed and hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalnysaid they plan what they hope will be the largest street protests in modern Russian history on Wednesday to highlight Navalny's declining health and a crackdown on his supporters.
The comments came as European Union foreign ministers set a date to discuss Navalny's health at a meeting on Monday.
Concerns over Navalny's health have mounted against the background of a spike in tensions between Moscow and the West over a litany of issues, including Russia's troop build-up on Ukraine's border, interference in U.S. elections and other perceived hostile activities.
People attend a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia, on January 31, 2021.
The team called for protests in the central squares of every Russian city at 7 p.m. local time, coinciding with the same day that Putin is due to give an annual state-of-the-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. "The life of Alexey Navalny and the fate of Russian Federation depends on how many citizens come out to the streets this Wednesday", Navalny's team said in a statement on its website.
In early April, as NPR previously reported, Navalny said he had developed a temperature and a cough.
"But I can say that Mr Navalny, he behaves like a hooligan", Kelin told the BBC.
He was arrested in January when he returned to Russian Federation from Germany, where he had been recovering from a nerve agent attack he blamed on Mr Putin. The Kremlin denies the allegation.
Navalny, known as Russian President Vladimir Putin's fiercest critic, is 19 days into a hunger strike in prison, where he was sentenced after returning to Russia having survived a nerve agent poisoning a year ago.
Navalny, a vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, began a hunger strike on March 31 in protest of what he said was the refusal of prison authorities to offer him proper medical care for acute back and leg pain.
On Saturday, Navalny's doctors said his health had rapidly deteriorated and demanded prison officials grant them immediate access.
Doctors helping Navalny's family said on Saturday blood tests showed his potassium levels are "catastrophically" high, meaning that he could suffer heart failure at "any moment".
Biden had said on Saturday that Navalny's plight was "totally, totally unfair, totally inappropriate". US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan added on Sunday the Kremlin had been warned "that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies".
The rising tensions between the former Soviet republics come against the background of a war of words between Moscow and Washington as US President Joe Biden seeks a tougher line against Putin.
She said union members hadn't examined Navalny but had received the tests from his lawyers, per Reuters. "These have already been significant sanctions, but new ones may also be imposed", Le Drian said on Sunday as aired by France 3 broadcaster.
They said his potassium levels are dangerously high and one said he could "die any minute".