December 21, 2017
RUSSIA has vowed to respond in kind to new sanctions imposed by the United States as relations between the two nuclear powers continue to sour.
World War 3? US and Russia tensions SOAR as Putin vows ‘reciprocal measures’ on America
Officials in Moscow pledged to impose “reciprocal measures” after the US Treasury Department announced its expansion of the Magnitsky Act.
The 2012 bill forbids all transactions between 49 sanctioned individuals and American citizens, freezes any assets they had in the United States and also bans them from entering the country.
And the Act has earned the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin because it targets some senior figures in his administration.
In response to the US move, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters today: “Of course this all is looking as a grotesque already, because it is not based on any reality whatsoever.
“Unfortunately we are forced to reiterate our position which boils down to the fact that all these steps would be followed by reciprocal measures.”
These new sanctions are the latest in a series of blows to US-Russia relations, and come at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
The Magnitsky Act was drawn up by President Barack Obama’s administration in response to human rights violations and high-level tax fraud by the individuals named in the bill.
The sanctions were named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and whistleblower who uncovered what he said was a massive tax scam by Russian officials and police officers.
World War 3? US and Russia tensions SOAR as Putin vows ‘reciprocal measures’ on America
After he reported his findings to the authorities in 2008, he himself was detained for tax evasion.
Mr Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison a year after his arrest, and an unusual posthumous trial found him guilty of tax evasion.
Announcing five more Russians were being added to the sanctions list yesterday, John Smith, director of the Treasury Department's office of foreign assets control, said: "Treasury remains committed to holding accountable those involved in the Sergei Magnitsky affair, including those with a role in the criminal conspiracy and fraud scheme that he uncovered.
"We will continue to use the Magnitsky Act to aggressively target gross violators of human rights in Russia, including individuals responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, and other despicable acts.

World War 3? US and Russia tensions SOAR as Putin vows ‘reciprocal measures’ on America

"Relations between Washington and Moscow have come under intense strain in recent months, despite President Donlad Trump expressing hopes the traditionally rival nations would be able to put aside their differences and work together.
On the campaign trail, Mr Trump repeatedly praised Mr Putin’s leadership abilities and the two reportedly got off on the right foot at the G20 in July.
But despite positive signs for closer links following the pair’s first meeting, relations have since deteriorated.
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