Germany has called on Russia to provide “urgent medical assistance” to imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

A German government spokesman said M Navalnyis in critical condition as he faces inhumane detention conditions and solitary confinement.

The spokesperson said the German government was trying to help Mr Navalny, but it was difficult due to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

It comes after nearly 500 Russian doctors signed an open letter to the Russian president Vladimir Poutine urging him to prevent the prison authorities from “abusing” Mr. Navalny.

In the letter, the doctors express “great concern for the life and health” of Mr Navalny and say that the Russian authorities’ “refusal” to provide the necessary medicine “directly threatened” his life.

Earlier this week, Mr Navalny’s lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, said he had experienced chills, fever and a severe cough.

He said the doctors’ open letter had had an effect, Mr Navalny had been given antibiotics and his condition had stopped deteriorating.

But in a later update, Mr Kozev said ‘medication hasn’t been delivered yet’ and Mr Navalny felt like the day before.

Navalny “deliberately infected”

Allies of Mr Navalny say the Kremlin critic was placed in a cramped punishment cell for 15 days on December 31 – the 10th time he had been sent there in the space of five months, for alleged offenses such as washing his face at the wrong time or not buttoning his prison uniform.

Posting on social media via his lawyers, Mr Navalny said authorities deliberately infected him by placing a sick man next to him as a “biological weapon”.

His allies said there had been an outbreak of flu in the penal colony where he is being held.

His wife, Yulia, appealed to prison authorities in an Instagram post, writing, “Are you human? You have parents and children waiting for you when you come home from work.

“What’s going on in your head? How do you live rejoicing that you deliberately infected a man and didn’t treat him or give him any medicine?

Outspoken criticism of the Kremlin

Mr. Navalny has long been a vocal critic of Mr. Putin.

In March he was sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of large-scale fraud and contempt of court.

He called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “stupid” and “built on lies”, while calling on his fellow citizens to organize daily demonstrations.

Mr Navalny was arrested in January 2021 after returning from Germany to Russia, where he was recovering from nerve agent poisoning.

He had fallen ill on a flight to Moscow and was then was poisoned with novichok on a campaign trip to Siberia.

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