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Russia’s State Duma speaker calls US blacklist extension ‘hysterics’ of Obama team

The speaker comments on Washington’s move to add five more Russians to the blacklist under the Magnitsky Act

MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Washington’s move to add five more Russians to the blacklist under the Magnitsky Act and the package of sanctions presented by US lawmakers against Russia over alleged hacker attacks is "hysterics" of the outgoing Obama administration, Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said.

"Hysterics of the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama, this cannot be called in another way," Volodin said answering a TASS question. "Most likely, they had commitments before sponsors and lost the elections and now search for those guilty of this defeat," he said.

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament said the Obama administration should rather "ask itself in the first place and answer before its voters."

"When people did not support them (at elections) this shows that politics is inefficient, and this says that ordinary voters want stable relations with Russia and other countries and all these issues need to be considered in this context rather than look for those who are guilty of this defeat," Volodin stressed.

On January 9, the US Department of the Treasury added five more Russian individuals to its blacklist under the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials whom the US believes to be responsible for human rights violations.

The new blacklist includes Russian MP Andrei Lugovoy and businessman Dmitry Kovtun, who are accused of allegedly killing ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, as well as Russian Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, Stanislav Gordiyevsky and Gennady Plaksin. According to Russian mass media, Plaksin previously headed the Universal Savings Bank and Gordiyevsky is a former Investigative Committee official.

Earlier reports said the US Congress would consider a bill on introducing a comprehensive package of sanctions against Russia over its alleged hacker attacks against the US electoral system.

On December 29, the outgoing US administration slapped new sanctions on Moscow over the alleged hacking into US political institutions. These sanctions apply to several Russian companies, the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff. Besides that, the US authorities declared 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata and shut down two recreational compounds in New York and Maryland owned by the Russian government.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in cyberattacks. Commenting on the new sanctions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they were a manifestation of aggression.