MOSCOW – The Kremlin rejected on Tuesday sanctions imposed by the United States on five Russian individuals under the so-called “Magnitsky Act” which punishes human rights violations.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that these U.S. sanctions are an additional step aimed at further deterioration of relations between Moscow and Washington.
The U.S. blacklist of sanctioned officials includes Russian Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin and two former agents of the federal security service.
The blacklist also includes Deputy Andrei Lugovoi and businessman Dmitry Kovtun, who were identified by the British authorities as the killers of former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
The sanctions provide a ban on visas to travel to the United States and the freezing of assets that sanctioned officials have in U.S. territories.
The Magnitsky Act, promulgated by U.S. Congress in 2012, initially sanctioned those responsible for gross human rights violations, but the U.S. administration expanded its application last year.
The act is named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after he alleged that the Russian government officials were involved in tax fraud.