White House says there will be consequences if Kremlin critic Navalny dies


FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny delivers a speech during a rally to demand the release of jailed protesters, who were detained during opposition demonstrations for fair elections, in Moscow, Russia September 29, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the U.S. government has told Russia "there will be consequences" if Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny dies in prison.

"We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they will be held accountable by the international community," Sullivan told CNN.

"In terms of the specific measures that we would undertake, we are looking at a variety of different costs that we would impose and I am not going to telegraph that publicly at this point, but we have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies," he added.

Reuters reported earlier that Navalny is facing an increasing risk of kidney failure and his vision is deteriorating after more than two weeks on hunger strike.

Navalny, 44, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, started refusing food on March 31 to protest a lack of proper medical treatment for his leg and back pain.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Nick Zieminski)

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