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Adoption of Canadian version of Magnitsky Act to deal blow to relations with Russia

May 18, 21:37 UTC+3

The Russian Foreign Ministry considers Ottawa's support of a national version of the Sergei Magnitsky Act "an unfriendly act"

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MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Moscow sizes up the Canadian authorities decision to support a nation version of the Sergei Magnitsky Act adopted in the U.S. that may be considered by the Canadian parliament, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary

"We are compelled to warn Ottawa that we find the active support of the Canadian version of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act adopted in the U.S. in 2012 to be an unfriendly act," the commentary said. "The document makes an attempt to issue highly contrived claims against Russia with human rights violations."

"In case of endorsement of this sanctional legislative act, relations between our two countries that are already in a rather low phase will suffer a new telling blow," the ministry said.

"It is Canada that will eventually lose by if its authorities take their cues from the individuals like the UK-based financial swindler William Browder and if they prefer to isolate themselves from Russia instead of developing mutually beneficial cooperation in the economy and in Arctic exploration," it went on.

"Quite naturally, the government in Ottawa if free to act in accordance with its own reasoning but a policy of this kind is rather shortsighted," the ministry said.

Reuters quoted Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Wednesday saying the government was supporting the adoption of a national version of the Magnitsky Act.

The U.S. Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in November/December 2012 and President Barack Obama signed it into law in December 2012. The law specifies sanctions against a number of Russian officials, including the representatives of law enforcement agencies who Washington believes played a role in Magnitsky’s death in a Moscow detention center in November 2009.

Magnitsky was a lawyer working for the highly controversial Hermitage Capital Management foundation based in the UK.

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