Kremlin critic Navalny to end his hunger strike

The prominent Russian opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, said on Friday (April 23) that he would begin gradually ending his hunger strike in a Russian prison.

... one he had initially started to demand proper medical care.

Navalny's announcement came on the 24th day of his hunger strike, after a medical trade union that supports him - and which has treated him in the past - appealed to him to start eating again or risk death.

The worsening health of President Vladimir Putin's biggest domestic opponent, and the authorities' initial failure to give him the treatment he demanded, has triggered a Western diplomatic offensive designed to cajole Moscow into making concessions.

In an Instagram post arranged via his lawyers on Friday, Navalny said he was still demanding that he be seen by a doctor of his own choosing, and that he was losing feeling in parts of his legs and arms.

He said, however, that he had been twice seen by civilian doctors and undergone tests, adding it would take him 24 days to gradually end the hunger strike and thanked the "good people" in Russia and around the world for their support.

Authorities in the IK-2 correctional facility where Navalny is serving out a 2-1/2 year sentence for a conviction he and his supporters say is politically motivated, said they had offered him prison medical care but that he had refused.