MOSCOW, December 5 (Itar-Tass) — Russia will react to the Magnitsky Law in a form that it is needed, Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Supremacy of Law Konstantin Dolgov told a press conference on Wednesday.
Commenting on possible response measures, Dolgov said, “Let’s be patient a little.” “There is information saying today the bill has been approved by the Senate by the American time. Our position remains unchanged. This is an absolutely unfriendly step, which is aimed at disabling a group of our citizens,” the Russian diplomat said.
“There can be two views. Our position remains in force,” he stressed.
“As for measures, in my view, all levels of Russia’s power commented on this issue. An adequate response will be given in a form that it will be needed,” Dolgov said.
“Our representatives said the measures might be symmetric and asymmetric. It is natural that we act and will act reasonably in compliance with our international obligations and further relations with all states,” the commissioner said.
“As for unacceptable actions towards Russian citizens, they cannot be left without reaction,” he stressed.
The U.S. Senate may start discussing the bill to cancel the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which includes the so-called Magnitsky Law, a well-informed source in the Congress told Itar-Tass.
The debate on the trade bill was expected to begin on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, although it was uncertain when a final vote would take place.
On Tuesday Senator Ben Cardin, who authored the Senate version, indicated that he was willing to accept the House approach so that the bill can be passed. “This bill may only apply to Russia, but it sets a standard that should be applied globally,” Cardin said in a statement. “I encourage other nations to follow our lead.”
The human rights provision is named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and whistle-blower who died in a Russian prison three years ago after allegedly being tortured.
The Moscow government has voiced strong opposition to the Magnitsky language, saying it would increase tensions between the two countries and hinting at retaliation.
The trade bill eliminates the Jackson-Vanik amendment to a 1974 trade bill that tied trade with the Soviet Union to greater freedom for Jews and other Soviet minorities to emigrate.
Although the amendment has long outlived its purpose and is now annually waived by presidents, it has never been removed from the books, preventing the establishment of permanent normal trade relations.
Moscow warned the U.S. several times that that the Magnitsky Law could have a negative impact on relations between the two countries.