Unauthorised Rallies in Support of Alexei Navalny Held Across Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address at the Federal Assembly at the Manezh Exhibition Hall in Moscow

Addressing the Federal Assembly, Putin said "the meaning and content" of Russia's policy in the global arena is "to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens, for the stable development of the country".

OVD-Info, a group that monitors political arrests and offers aid to detainees, reported that police searched the offices of Navalny's organisation in Yekaterinburg and detained a Navalny-affiliated journalist in Khabarovsk.

A group of United Nations rights experts expressed alarm Wednesday at the deteriorating health of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and called for his urgent medical evacuation from Russian Federation.

An officer walks outside the IK-3 penal colony, which houses a hospital where jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was reportedly transferred, in Vladimir, Russia, on April 20, 2021.

He did however hit out at rivals overseas, with Moscow and Western capitals at loggerheads over Navalny, a Russian troop build-up on Ukraine's borders and a series of espionage scandals that resulted in diplomatic expulsions.

He said Russian Federation wants to have good relations "including with those (countries) with whom relations have not been developing recently, to put it mildly".

Navalny, 44, is Russian President Vladimir Putin's most notable critic and has accused the Kremlin of attempting to assassinate him with a nerve agent and subsequently jailing him on politically motivated charges. "I hope that no one will think of crossing a "red line" with Russian Federation".

"We really don't want to burn the bridges", Putin said.

He blames the attack on Putin, a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

Putin's government is already a major focus of US foreign policy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address at The Federal Assembly at The Manezh Exhibition Hall in Moscow

On Sunday, National Security AdvisorJake Sullivan told CNN's State of the Union that "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 global community". Putin announced new social support measures for families with children ahead of a September parliamentary election.

"The main thing is to ensure the growth of citizens' real incomes", he said, adding that increases in consumer prices were "eating away" at Russians' incomes.

Navalny's supporters have called for what they hope will be the biggest protests in modern Russian history.

Security forces had issued a warning against taking part in "illegal gatherings" and appeared to be moving quickly to deter protesters.

Navalny launched his hunger strike demanding proper medical treatment over severe back pain and numbness in his limbs.

"His arms are all blue with the shots", the lawyer said.

Navalny was detained when he returned to Russian Federation in January after months recovering in Germany from a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin - an accusation it rejects.

Doctors over the weekend warned that the 44-year-old's health was deteriorating to such an extent he could die at "any minute", while the United States threatened Russian Federation with "consequences" in the event of his death.

Human rights groups have said the prison where Navalny is being held is known for exceptionally harsh conditions, according to the BBC, which also reports that Amnesty International has described his treatment in prison as a slow torture.

During his speech last year, Putin set out a series of constitutional reforms that were eventually approved in a referendum and reset presidential terms so he could run twice more after the end of his current six-year term.



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