Alexei Navalny says he'll start a 24-day process of ending his hunger strike in a Russian penal colony, a day after doctors said he would die otherwise. The Russian opposition leader announced the move through lawyers on Instagram Friday, noting his goal of receiving care from outside doctors was achieved. Navalny—whose team had described him as at imminent risk of kidney failure and cardiac arrest after he stopped eating on March 31—referred to two visits with civilian doctors, per CNN. Anastasia Vasilieva, head of the Doctors Alliance union, a group of doctors who describe themselves as Navalny's attending physicians, tells Reuters that Navalny was taken to a civilian hospital on Tuesday to be seen by the head kidney specialist, neurologist, and neurosurgeon.
“Thanks to the huge support of good people across the country and around the world, we have made huge progress,” Navalny said in his message, per the AP. "Two months ago, my requests for medical help were prompting smirks. I wasn’t given any medications. ... Thanks to you, now I have been examined by a panel of civilian doctors twice.” But one demand is not yet met. The Kremlin critic says he has yet to see a specialist who can explain the loss of sensitivity in his arms and legs. Navalny began the hunger strike because he said he wasn't receiving proper treatment for back and leg pain. He also said his left leg was going numb. Navalny, who'd described himself as "a walking skeleton" on Tuesday, said it would take 24 days to gradually end the hunger strike, per CNBC. (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)