Russia and the United States should now try to minimize the damage caused by the situation surrounding the U.S. Magnitsky Act instead of further fueling tensions in bilateral relations, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
"The adoption of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. has already damaged bilateral relations between Russia and the U.S. The task facing the two sides today is to minimize the damage caused by this aggressive law instead of using it to further heighten tensions," Pushkov was quoted as saying by his press service.
If the U.S. chooses to further fuel tensions and enlarge its blacklists, Russia could offer a "mirror" response, as it has happened in other situations previously, he said.
"However, I do not think that a political confrontation with Moscow meets the interests of the U.S. itself. I would like to hope that both the U.S. Congress and Obama's administration realize that," Pushkov said.
In December, 2012, Washington passed the Magnitsky Act, blacklisting 18 Russian officials accused of human rights violations, including those linked to the case of Hermitage Capital Management lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow jail in 2009. The U.S. authorities claim that the lawyer's death was not investigated properly.
The U.S. blacklist was published on April 12.
On July 11, Moscow's Tverskoi Court found Magnitsky posthumously guilty of tax fraud valued at more than 500 million rubles. Magnitsky's case was dropped due to his death, but a request for his rehabilitation was denied.
It was announced on Friday that the U.S. Department of State was considering the possible inclusion of more Russian officials on its blacklist.
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