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    Kremlin promises to retaliate against UK sanctions

    Credit: Belga

    Russia will respond to the “unfriendly” sanctions announced by the United Kingdom as part of a new mechanism to punish human rights violations, the Kremlin announced on Tuesday.

    The UK had announced sanctions against 49 individuals and organisations, including 25 Russians, on Monday, resulting in immediate freezing of their UK assets and a ban on entering the UK.

    “We can only regret these unfriendly measures,” President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the press. “Obviously, the principle of reciprocity will be applied,” Peskov said.

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    The 25 Russians on the black list published Monday by the British Foreign Office are accused of being involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer with the Hermitage Capital investment fund who died in custody in 2009. Among them is Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of Russia.

    The Russian embassy in London denounced these sanctions as a desire to put pressure on sovereign states, claiming that Russian investigators and judges were working “on the basis of independence from the executive and are guided exclusively by law.”

    Relations between the UK and Russia have deteriorated in recent years against the backdrop of opposition to the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. London also accuses Moscow of having poisoned former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018, accusations that were flat-out rejected by Russia.

    Sanctions were also announced for Saudi Arabian officials involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times