Alexei Navalny says he will start to end his hunger strike

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he would end his weekslong hunger strike on Friday. In an Instagram post, Navalny said he would end the strike that he began on March 31 to demand medical care from his personal doctor.

Navalny also said it would take him 24 days to gradually end the strike, adding that he was still demanding to see a doctor of his own choice. He also thanked the “good people” of Russia and around the world for their support, according to a Reuters translation. Navalny, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics, was transferred to a prison hospital on Monday, three weeks into the hunger strike. He began refusing to eat on March 31 to protest his treatment, saying he had been denied urgent medical treatment. Russian authorities had previously said they offered Navalny proper medical care but that he continued to refuse it. The prison had declined to allow a doctor of Navalny’s choice from outside of the facility to administer his treatment. Last weekend, the 44-year-old activist’s doctors warned that he was in danger of a heart attack or kidney failure. The physicians had not been able to visit Navalny in prison, but said medical tests provided by Navalny’s family showed he was dangerously ill and “could die at any moment.”