With an investigation ongoing, Dmitry Peskov cautioned Western leaders against making “rabid statements” Alexey Navalny appears by video link at Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2022 © AFP / Alexander Nemenov

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) is taking all the necessary steps to investigate the death of Alexey Navalny, and doctors will determine how the opposition figure died, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

Navalny died on Friday afternoon in a penal colony in Yamalo-Nenets Region, where he had been serving a 19-year sentence for offenses related to “extremism.” According to the prison service, the 47-year-old felt unwell and lost consciousness after a walk, and was pronounced dead by doctors.

The FSIN “is taking all the steps that need to be taken in such a situation,” Peskov told reporters. As such, a special inquiry would not be needed, he added.

The Kremlin spokesman said that medical professionals will determine the exact cause of Navalny’s passing, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been kept informed of the situation.

Alexey Navalny has died – prison service Alexey Navalny has died – prison service

Earlier, an RT Russian service source said that Navalny had suffered a blood clot.

US Vice President Kamala Harris declared that “Russia is responsible” for Navalny’s passing, while European Council President Charles Michel said that “the EU holds the Russian regime solely responsible for this tragic death.”

“Obviously, these are absolutely rabid statements,” Peskov commented. “There is no information about the cause of death. We consider such statements absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate.”

Navalny first rose to prominence as a right-wing activist and as one of the leaders of the “Russian march,” an ultranationalist rally formerly held in Moscow every year He then shifted his ideology to align with Western liberal beliefs and positioned himself as an opponent of Putin, attempting to contest the 2018 presidential election despite being investigated for fraud at the time.

Navalny was convicted of fraud and jailed in early 2021, receiving an additional 19 years for extremism last year. In December, he was transferred to the ‘Polar Wolf’ colony in Yamalo-Nenets, located 40km above the Arctic Circle.