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Updated April 23, 2021 at 9:34 AM ET

Russia's jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Friday he is calling off a more than three-week prison hunger strike that doctors say left him near death.

Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who began refusing food on March 31 to demand medical care for leg and back pain, said in an Instagram post that on advice from doctors, he would take 24 days — the same amount of time as the actual strike — to gradually reverse it.

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