09:59 GMT26 January 2021
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    PARIS (Sputnik) - Russian national Alexander Vinnik, who has been recently extradited from Greece to France, is finishing his hunger strike, Russian Ambassador in Paris Alexey Meshkov said.

    "Employees of the embassy’s consular department regularly visit Vinnik in the prison ward of the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital. He feels normal and is gradually fishing his repeated 40-day hunger strike and started eating again," Meshkov said.

    In line with the judge’s permission, Vinnik is now allowed to call his relatives and lawyers. He also has a small TV showing French channels in his room in a hospital, he added.

    The Russian Embassy has sent protest notes to the French Foreign Ministry demanding that Paris provide unhindered consular access to Russian national Alexander Vinnik and expedite consideration of the request for his extradition to Russia, Meshkov said.

    "Protest notes have been sent to the French Foreign Ministry with demands to respect the rights of the Russian citizen, ensure unhindered access of the embassy's consular department to him, allow embassy staff to attend court hearings and expedite the consideration of the request of the Russian Prosecutor General's office to extradite Alexander Vinnik, taking into account his citizenship and consent to extradition to Russia," Meshkov said.

    The embassy also handed over the request from the prosecutor's office to share materials of the Vinnik case and let Russian officials be present during the legal proceedings against Vinnik in France.

    Vinnik has been in France since January 23. During a court hearing in late January, a judge ruled to remand him in custody.

    Vinnik was detained in Greece in July 2017 at the request of the US authorities on various charges, including laundering $4 billion through bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange BTC-E, which was allegedly headed by Vinnik. Apart from the United States, his extradition was sought by Russia and France.

    Vinnik asked to be extradited to Russia to stand trial in his home country.

    France, Greece, Alexander Vinnik, Russia
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