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Russian Embassy in UK says Moscow may respond to Magnitsky Amendment

Earlier on Monday, the UK announced introduction of personal sanctions against 25 Russian citizens whom London considers involved in violation of human rights
A plaque of the Russian Embassy, London Ilya Dmitryachev/TASS
A plaque of the Russian Embassy, London
© Ilya Dmitryachev/TASS

LONDON, July 6. /TASS/. Imposition of the UK sanctions against 25 Russian nationals whom London considers involved in human rights violations is an unfriendly and outrageous step, the Russian Embassy in the UK spokesman said, warning that Moscow reserves its right for retaliation.

"Inclusion of the senior authorities of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee, as well as judges, in the list sparks the most outrage. In Russia, the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office and the court work independently from the executive power and are led solely by the law," the diplomat said.

"Russia reserves its right for retaliatory steps over the unfriendly decision of the UK," he underscored.

According to the spokesman, London’s decision falls in line with its idea of the UK as the "world leader" in sanctions pressure on sovereign states. "All answers to existing questions regarding the circumstances of Sergei Magnitsky’s death have already been provided. This British decision was quite obviously aimed solely at public effect," the diplomat noted.

"It is remarkable that even within the UK itself, the expert community more and more tends to consider sanctions to be ineffective from the standpoint of proclaimed goals as well as detrimental to bilateral relations with target nations. This is also true for today’s announcement of sanctions, which would not benefit the Russian-British relations," he noted.

Magnitsky Amendment

On July 6, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab announced the so-called Magnitsky Amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. It was adopted by the House of Commons in May 2018, and was supposed to enter force immediately after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The amendment is named after Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in 2009 in the Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility. London believes that people in the sanctions list were involved in his torture and death.

The list of sanctioned people includes Russian Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin and Deputy Minister of the Interior Alexei Anichin. The people in the list have been barred from entering the UK, and their assets in the country, if they have any, will be frozen. They will be barred from conducting business both inside the UK and via UK citizens’ mediation.

Besides Russians, the list includes citizens and agencies from Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and North Korea.