MOSCOW (AP) — Moscow has strongly criticized U.S. legislation that calls for sanctions against accused of abuses and warned that it will respond in kind. A leading anti-corruption crusader, however, hailed the bill as "pro-Russian."
The legislation is primarily intended to end Cold War-era trade restrictions and was hailed by U.S. businesses worried about falling behind in the race to win shares of President Vladimir Putin's government.'s more open market, but its human rights part has outraged
The measure, dubbed the Magnitsky act, is named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested by officials he accused of a $230-million tax fraud. He was repeatedly denied medical treatment and in 2009 died after almost a year in jail after being severely beaten by guards. Russian rights groups accused the Kremlin of failing to prosecute those responsible, while independent media claimed that such tax frauds are widespread.
Russia's Foreign Ministry responded to the U.S. Senate vote late Thursday by calling it a "show in the theater of the absurd." It warned that Russia will respond to the new legislation in kind, adding that the U.S. will have to take the blame for the worsening of U.S.-Russian ties.
"Probably people in Washington forgot what year it is and are thinking that the Cold War isn't over yet," the ministry said in a statement adding that "it's weird and strange to hear human rights-related complaints against us from the politicians of a country where torture and abductions of people all over the world were legitimized in the 21st century."
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian media that he warned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during their meeting in Dublin on Thursday that Russia "will ban entry to the Americans who are in fact guilty of violating human rights."