Putin's arch enemy and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies after ‘going for walk’ in prison

16 February 2024, 11:34 | Updated: 16 February 2024, 12:16

Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link from the IK-3 penal colony and inset, recovering after his Novichok poisoning
Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link from the IK-3 penal colony and inset, recovering after his Novichok poisoning. Picture: Getty/Instagram

By Asher McShane and Kit Heren

Jailed Putin critic and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died after ‘going for a walk,’ according to the Russian prison service.

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A statement issued today says: "On February 16, 2024, in correctional colony No 3, convict A A Navalny felt unwell after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness," a statement says.

"The institution's medical workers immediately arrived and an emergency medical team was called.

"All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, but they did not yield positive results.

At a court hearing in January via video link Navalny asked for better access to reading material behind bars
At a court hearing in January via video link Navalny asked for better access to reading material behind bars. Picture: Getty

"Emergency medical doctors confirmed the death of the convict," it concluded.

Russian president Vladimir Putin 'has been informed' of his death, the Kremlin said.

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An ambulance arrived to try to resuscitate him, but he died. He died from a detached blood clot, according to Russian media.

There was no immediate confirmation of Mr Navalny's death from his own team. An investigation is under way.

He had been placed in solitary confinement on Wednesday, but it is unclear why, Russian media states.

Kremlin critic Bill Browder told LBC today: “Alexei Navalny was one of the most courageous people in Russia.

“He was ready to call out Putin for who he is which is A criminal, a thief and a murderer.

“For that Putin tried to kill him with chemical nerve agent Novichok in 2020. Here we are in 2024 and they got him.

“He was an extremely healthy vital young man before the poisoning attempt. It’s obvious to me that Alexei Navalny was killed by Putin.”

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny at an appeal hearing after he was jailed for 19 years in a maximum security prison on extremism charges
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny at an appeal hearing after he was jailed for 19 years in a maximum security prison on extremism charges. Picture: Getty

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has described the death as “terrible news”, adding: “As the fiercest advocate for Russian democracy, Alexei Navalny demonstrated incredible courage throughout his life."

Navalny was one of Putin’s most prominent critics. He was being held at a jail about 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle where he had been sentenced to a ‘special regime’ of 19 years in jail.

In 2020 Navalny fell into a coma after suspected Novichok poisoning by Russia’s FSB security service and he was evacuated to Germany for treatment.

Towards the end of last year he took to social media to tell his supporters not to worry about him.

Alexey Navalny posted this image to Instagram after he came out of a coma in 2020
Alexey Navalny posted this image to Instagram after he came out of a coma in 2020. Picture: Instagram

Writing on Twitter in December he described himself as "the new Santa", and confirmed that he had been moved to the IK-3 penal colony, nicknamed "Polar Wolf", in the northern town of Kharp, some 1,900km (1,200 miles) northeast of Moscow.

He had previously been held in Melekhovo, 235 km (145 miles) east of Moscow.

At the IK-6 prison colony he had been in isolation a total of 27 times over a total of 308 days.

He had spent months in isolation at Prison Colony No 6 before he was moved to IK-6.

He had reportedly been punished for minor infractions and was placed in a punishment cell.

Prison officials had refused to give him his mail, deprived him of writing supplies, food he had ordered and paid for in addition to regular meals, and would not allow visits from relatives, Navalny argued in his lawsuits challenging his treatment.

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