Sentenced to two and a half years in prison for embezzlement, Navalny has been on a hunger strike to demand medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his hands and legs.

(FILES) In this file photo, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny attends a hearing at a court in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2019.
(FILES) In this file photo, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny attends a hearing at a court in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2019. (AFP)

Russia's prison service has said jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, who is currently on hunger strike, would be transferred to a hospital for inmates, but deemed his condition to be "satisfactory."

Prison authorities said in a statement on Monday doctors had "made a decision" to deliver Navalny to a medical facility on the premises of his penal colony outside Moscow and that he had agreed to take vitamin supplements as part of medical treatment.

The announcement comes two days after Navalny’s physician said his health was deteriorating rapidly and the 44-year-old Kremlin critic could be on the verge of death.

Navalny’s physician, Yaroslav Ashikhmin, said Saturday that test results he received from Navalny’s family show him sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.

Navalny went on a hunger strike to protest the refusal to let his doctors visit when he began experiencing severe back pain and a loss of feeling in his legs. Russia’s state penitentiary service has said that Navalny is receiving all the medical help he needs.

Russia's Interior Ministry has called on the public not to participate in planned protests this week in support of Navalny.

"Any aggressive actions by participants in unauthorised public meetings, especially attempts to provoke clashes with law enforcement officials, will be regarded as a threat to public safety and immediately suppressed," the ministry said.

READ MORE: Nationwide protests planned across Russia over Navalny's failing health

EU holds Putin 'responsible'

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc holds Russia "responsible" for the health of Navalny, as EU foreign ministers held virtual talks on soaring tensions with Moscow.

The United States has warned the Kremlin of "consequences" if President Vladimir Putin's major domestic opponent dies in prison after doctors warned at the weekend he could pass away at "any minute".

Fears over the health of Navalny come amid major anxieties in the 27-nation European Union over a buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and a spiralling diplomatic row between Moscow and EU member state the Czech Republic.

Borrell said Navalny's condition was "very worrisome" and repeated a call for immediate access to be granted for medical professionals he trusts.

"We make the Russian authorities responsible for the health situation of Mr Navalny," Josep Borrell said before a video conference of the EU's 27 foreign ministers, who on Sunday released a joint statement warning of the risks to Navalny's life.

Leading EU lawmakers also spoke out.

"Act now, or the blood of Mr. Navalny will forever be on your hands," said Manfred Weber, who leads the European Parliament's biggest grouping, the European People's Party.

Lithuania said its Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis would propose that the EU "take immediate measures" at the video talks of the bloc's top diplomats Monday.

"If the international community does not respond, the regime's opposition leader will be sent silently to his death," Landsbergis said.

The EU in October sanctioned six Russian officials over the Novichok nerve agent attempt and in February sanctioned another four individuals over Navalny's arrest and sentencing.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday those sanctions could be expanded.

READ MORE: Navalny: I am being tortured with sleep deprivation in prison

An ally of Navalny said on Monday she was braced for bad news on the health of the hunger-striking opposition politician when his lawyers see him again, after they were kept away over the weekend.

"We don't know what happened to him over the weekend because the lawyers aren't allowed to visit him then. I hope we will get some news today but I'm very afraid to receive bad news," his ally, Lyubov Sobol, told Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"I think there is no hope we will receive good news about his health today. I think his state is really very close to critical, close to being very grave. Twenty days on hunger strike - that is an awful lot."

Navalny's allies said at the weekend his life was hanging by a thread, and announced plans for what they hope will be the largest protests in modern Russian history on Wednesday, hours after a state-of-the-nation address by Putin.

READ MORE: Russian prison threatens to force-feed Alexey Navalny mid-hunger strike

Source: TRTWorld and agencies