Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny has died, says prison service

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Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died in a maximum-security prison in the country’s far north, Russia’s prison service has said.

Navalny, 47 — President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent and a fierce critic of his invasion of Ukraine — fell ill after a walk and “lost consciousness almost immediately”, the prison service said on Friday.

“All the essential measures to resuscitate [Navalny] were carried out and did not give positive results. Emergency services doctors confirmed the inmate’s death. The reasons for his death are being clarified,” the prison service added.

Navalny’s exiled team of supporters had “no confirmation of this for now”, his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh wrote on X, formerly Twitter. She said a lawyer for Navalny was on the way to the remote prison colony where he was transferred last year.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told Russian newspaper Kommersant that Putin had been informed of Navalny’s death. Peskov told reporters he had been told of Navalny’s death “from Moscow” and said he did not know the cause.

A charismatic anti-corruption activist, Navalny was jailed just over three years ago after returning to Russia from Germany following a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on Putin.

The Kremlin then steadily moved to isolate him from the outside world by holding him in increasingly restrictive conditions in notoriously harsh, remote prison colonies.

In December, he was relocated to a prison in the Yamalo-Nenets region of Russia, above the Arctic Circle, after disappearing from public view and falling out of contact with his legal team for several weeks.

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