Putin Slams US Rights Bill, Vows Measured Response

Posted December 13th, 2012 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized U.S. legislation that imposes sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights violations.

Mr. Putin on Thursday described as “unfriendly and politicized” a U.S. bill known as the “Magnitsky Act,” saying it will hurt U.S.-Russian relations. He promised an “appropriate response.”

His comments come a day before Russian lawmakers debate a tit-for-tat bill that denies entry to U.S. citizens suspected of violating the rights of Russian citizens abroad, including ill-treatment of Russian adoptees in the United States. Lawmakers say they are considering naming the measure after Dima Yakovlev, a Russian boy who died after his U.S. adoptive family left him locked in a car.

Russia has also announced restrictions on meat shipments from several countries, including the U.S., but denies any link with the Magnitsky Act.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the measure, which lifts trade restrictions on Russia that date back to the Cold War era, normalizes trade with Moldova, and denies visas and freezes U.S. bank assets of Russian human rights violators. U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to sign the bill, which cleared the House of Representatives last month.

It is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian lawyer who was jailed after he denounced what he called a criminal ring of officials who stole $250 million in tax money. He died in prison in 2009.