Russia warned Tuesday that it may halt cooperation with the United States on Iran and Syria in response to a continuing stream of U.S. sanctions.
One day after the Obama administration announced its latest penalties, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said the sanctions “are putting in doubt prospects for bilateral cooperation on solving the situation around the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian crisis and other acute international problems.”
“As Washington could have seen previously, we don’t leave such unfriendly acts without an answer,” he said in a statement in Moscow.The State Department announced Monday it was penalizing four Russian officials under the so-called Magnitsky Act for alleged human rights abuses.It imposed visa bans and asset freezes on two Russian officials allegedly involved in covering up the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an activist lawyer who had claimed widespread corruption in the Russian government. The same penalties were also imposed on two other officials who were allegedly implicated in the kidnapping and torture of Chechen human rights activist Ruslan Kutayev.
The 2012 law was intended to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Magnitsky. It also was aimed at punishing other alleged gross human rights abuses by Russian officials.
On Dec. 18, President Obama signed legislation aimed at punishing the Russian defense, energy and banking industries in response to Moscow’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region last spring and Russian military support for separatists in the country’s eastern region.