Interfax: Russia will pay U.S. “in its own coin” for expanding Magnitsky List – Russian diplomat

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Dec 16 (Interfax) – Russia will answer symmetrically if the United States expands the so-called Magnitsky List, i.e. the list of Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and subject to U.S. financial and visa sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“Decisions on putting more Russian citizens on the open part of the Magnitsky List will be made public in the near future,” Ryabkov said in an interview published in the Friday issue of Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

“We cannot leave these provocative actions unanswered,” he said.

“We must pay [the U.S.] with its own coin. You may think whatever you want about what each of these coins may be converted into. I don’t think we should resort to an asymmetric response in this case, although such things have happen and will happen in diplomatic practice. We see politics and even politicking in this case. The U.S. administration and the Congress are trying to impose this politics hampering normal development of bilateral relations on us,” Ryabkov said.

The diplomat said he is aware of comments by some bloggers regarding Russia’s reaction to the Magnitsky List. “In my view, the poisonous sarcasm with which our retaliatory measures to these or those actions by the U.S. authorities are often perceived shows that the web mudslingers simply don’t understand some obvious things,” he said.

“The matter is not about whether the U.S. representatives and officials who have already been barred or are about to be barred from entering the Russian Federation want to come here and whether they have any assets in Russia or in some of our financial institutions. The matter in this case is about responding on a parity basis. No more and no less,” Ryabkov said.

“We are not choosing this,” Ryabkov said. “Therefore, our response is strictly measured, responsible and symmetric,” he said.

Ryabkov said he is sure that, with the adoption of the Magnitsky List by the U.S., “a painful splinter and a long-running irritant” has appeared in Russian-U.S. relations.”

“Perhaps we might start dealing with this problem in time only if the U.S. administration has essential political will. Although it’s too early to talk about this,” Ryabkov said.

“Unfortunately, due to a range of reasons, the U.S. administration is acting, to put it mildly, controversially on the Russian track,” he said.

“We are not over-dramatizing the situation. But still, considering the achievements on the Syrian and Iranian tracks, we would like Washington to take a more responsible and careful approach toward a constructive and positively-charged agenda of partnership and political dialogue with Moscow,” Ryabkov said.

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

file photo

File Photo of U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight