Russia’s foreign minister has urged parliament to agree a tough response to a US law punishing Russian human rights violators, increasing the risk of a chill in relations with Washington.
Moscow announced restrictions on meat imports from the United States on Friday although it denied suggestions it had done so in response to the US Senate’s passage a day earlier of the so-called Magnitsky Act.
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the parliament should now respond and Alexei Pushkov, a senior parliamentary deputy from President Vladimir Putin’s party, said the state Duma lower house would discuss retaliatory measures this week.
“As this is an attempt to interfere in our internal affairs, I would be very interested in a reaction by the state Duma that would be collective, on a multi-party basis and representing all party groups,” Mr Lavrov said.
The new US legislation would bar visas for Russian officials linked to the 2009 death in custody of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who accused federal investigators of stealing $230 million (£143m) from the state.
“The Americans have reminded us about the way Russia is viewed on Capitol Hill,” Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to Putin, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.