Posts Tagged ‘magnitsky cardin’

May 2012

Russia warns of retaliation for U.S. Magnitsky bill

Washington Post

Russia is prepared to retaliate if the U.S. Congress passes the Magnitsky bill, which would freeze assets of and deny U.S. visas to Russian officials linked to human rights abuses, President Vladimir Putin’s top foreign adviser said Tuesday.

“We would very much like to avoid it,” Yuri Ushakov said. “But if this new anti-Russian law is adopted, then of course that demands measures in response.”

Ushakov’s comments came in an otherwise upbeat briefing on a meeting between Putin and President Obama set for June in Mexico. The Obama administration has been resisting the legislation, introduced by Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), viewing it as too provocative, even as the State Department has acted on its own to refuse entry to Russian officials associated with the Magnitsky case.

But in a recent interview, Cardin said he was sure the bill would pass, adding that he thinks the administration is preparing to accept the legislation if it is paired with another bill granting Russia normal trade-relation status. That is required under the terms of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, one of the central achievements of Obama’s “reset” of relations with Moscow.

The administration has apparently realized that it cannot stop the Magnitsky bill and will have to deal with the anger of the Russian leadership. If Ushakov’s remarks were designed to encourage a presidential veto of the bill, they are unlikely to succeed, given the difficulty the White House would face in killing a human rights measure. It could come out of committee as early as next month, according to a congressional official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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