Teenage Russian twins Masha and Dasha Ledeneva are critically ill from anorexia after their modelling school told them to "lose weight so their cheekbones were visible.”

The 14-year-old sisters worked as models for an agency in Lipetsk, Russia. They were rushed to a local hospital after falling ill during a fashion show in November. The twins went into a coma for three days after their condition was defined as critical. They were, however, allowed to go home despite them being severely unwell, Nine.com reported.

Their condition did not get better and the two were taken to Moscow for specialized medical care.

The treatment began last week after Maria Kokhno, a campaigner for eating disorder victims, took up the issue and sought medical help for the pair. 

“Nobody was keen to help the girls, their mother went here and there, hospitals were rejecting them. Masha can stand up but Dasha is only lying and cannot even lift her head. The mother contacted TV presenter Elena Malysheva and the Nutrition Institute in Moscow but nobody wanted to deal with ‘living corpses’,” Kokhno said, adding that the family then reached out to her pleading for help.

The twins are now in intensive care unit. Doctors say the girls are in a critical conditional and their heart could stop anytime.

"The doctors' main task, for the time being, is to do everything possible to prevent their hearts from stopping,” Doctor Aleksey Dobrovolsky said.

“At first the person loses and loses weight, and finally when the brains switch on, they stop doing it. Now whatever the human being wants to do, all the biochemical processes in his body are already ruined. As a result, we get the kind of weight both girls have now,” the doctor added, Mirror reported.

The sisters wanted to become famous models and hence gradually reduced food intake in order to lose weight.

“They were told Dasha’s body shape is quite okay but Masha should get rid of couple of kilos. The girls heard it in their own way. These children have always been perfect in everything, so they decided to be perfect here too. It all happened very quickly,” their mother Natalia Ledeneva said, Sun reported.

“At first, they began to reject food. They said – ‘we won’t have anything sweet tonight’ or ‘we won’t have any fruit’ or ‘we will have only salad’. They would have one cutlet and two spoonfuls of buckwheat for dinner. I was running after both of them, trying to persuade (them to eat). I thought they would hear what I was saying. But it is that kind of disease when they do not hear you, the disease was progressing,” she added.

russian hospital Representational image of victims from the Lame Horse nightclub fire in Perm, lying in the intensive care ward of a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 7, 2009. Photo: SERGEI ANDREEV/AFP/Getty Images