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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia slaps sanctions on 25 British citizens

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 21 November 2020 4:01 PM

Russia has slapped sanctions on 25 nationals of the United Kingdom in retaliation for British bans targeting the same number of Russian officials introduced some four months ago.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced the sanctions in a statement on Saturday, saying that all the targeted British nationals had been banned from entry into Russia in retaliation for the UK's sanctions in the so-called "Magnitsky case."

"In response to unfriendly actions of the UK authorities and on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, the Russian side made a decision to impose personal sanctions against 25 UK representatives who are barred from entering the Russian Federation," Russia's state news agency TASS quoted Zakharova as saying.

Lawyer and auditor Sergei Magnitsky, a tax consultant for British financier William Browder, died in Moscow's Butyrka prison in November 2009, less than a year after he was detained on tax evasion charges. Magnitsky had exposed an alleged tax fraud scheme, and his death became a cause célèbre for Western governments.

Back in July, the UK announced that it had imposed sanctions on 25 Russian nationals for their alleged involvement in the death of Magnitsky.

The British sanctions barred the targeted Russian figures from entering the UK, froze their potential assets in the UK, and prevented them from conducting business both in the UK and with British intermediaries.

Moscow at the time denounced the sanctions and said Russia's legal system was independent of individuals and was "guided by law alone."

Relations between London and Moscow were particularly strained in 2018 when the British government accused Russia of the alleged poisoning in the UK of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter.

London claimed that Russian officials from the GRU military intelligence agency used a powerful nerve agent to kill the ex-spy for his work with British and other Western intelligence services.

The victims were purportedly exposed to Novichok, a highly lethal chemical weapon developed under a secret Soviet program.

Russia vehemently rejected any involvement, saying the substance could have originated from the countries studying Novichok, including the UK itself, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Sweden.

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