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Number of Russian citizens under US sanctions reaches almost 200

The list also includes 402 Russian legal entities
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, December 21. / TASS /. The US sanctions list that was expanded on Wednesday now includes 402 Russian legal entities and almost 200 Russian citizens, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"Yesterday, the US extended the sanctioning legislative act by adding several more Russian citizens, including head of the Chechen Republic [Ramzan Kadyrov], bringing the number of our compatriots, who found themselves under various restrictions announced by Americans, to almost 200 people. There are also 402 Russian legal entities, which are in the same situation," the diplomat said.

Zakharova called the decision of Washington was "grotesque and not based on reality." At the same time, she confirmed that Russia will take retaliatory measures.

"So we always do, and when we answer so, we always emphasize that this is not our choice," the diplomat said.

"Strategically, we are set to interact with the United States. We are ready for this, we think this is the right way," she added.

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman expressed regret that a number of political groups of the US establishment "still have an obvious desire to go on the path of destroying bilateral relations, officially declaring Russia an enemy and declaring it a threat."

"All this looks ridiculous amid common challenges and threats. In our opinion, the factions that lobby this approach will need to realize that this is dangerous for international stability and will not do any good, in particular to the American people," she said.

On Wednesday, the US Department of the Treasury added five Russian nationals, including Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov, to the sanctions list under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. US officials accused Kadyrov of overseeing "an administration involved in disappearances and extrajudicial killings."

Also, sanctions were imposed on Ayub Katayev for involvement in "extrajudicial killings, torture and other significant violations of internationally recognized human rights." Yulia Mayorova, Andrei Pavlov and Alexei Sheshenya were added to the list for their participation in the "criminal conspiracy uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky" concerning alleged "illegal return of tax payments in 2007." Now the "Magnitsky list" includes 49 Russians.

Magnitsky act

The US passed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. The law is part of the Jackson-Vanik amendment that was effective for the USSSR and Russia in 1974-2012. The law came into effect on December 2012.

The law was named after an auditor working for Hermitage Capital Management, a British investment fund, who was arrested on charge of creating illegal tax evasion schemes for the fund. While under investigation, Magnitsky accused a number of Russian officials of corruption. In November 2009, he died in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow, as stated by representatives of Hermitage Capital, after being denied essential medical care.

The act envisages sanctioning Russian officials whom the US considers to be responsible for human rights violations. It particularly allows the US government to freeze assets and ban visas for officials.