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    Briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

    Russia Will Retaliate Against US Over Expansion of Sanctions - Foreign Ministry

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    Sanctions have been applied to approximately 200 Russian citizens and more than 400 Russian commercial entities, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

    "Again we have to talk about Washington's new steps against Russia, this time in reference to the so-called Sergei Magnitsky Law; yesterday, the US extended the effect of these sanctions to several other citizens of Russia, thereby bringing the number of our compatriots affected to almost 200 people, under various restrictions announced by the Americans," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

    Moscow will certainly respond to the expansion of US sanctions under the "Magnitsky law", Zakharova added.

    "All this already looks grotesque, because it is not based on any reality. Unfortunately, we again have to confirm our position, which amounts to the fact that these steps will be followed with retaliatory measures. So as we always stress, this is not our choice," Zakharova told reporters.

    READ MORE: Documentarian: ‘Clear Political Attack’ on Truth Behind Magnitsky Act

    She added that the Russian side "is aimed at strategic interaction with the United States in terms of strategy, believing that this is the right way."

    "But, of course, it's sad that a number of political groups in the United States still have a clear desire to follow the path of destruction of bilateral relations, continuing all these sanctions games. All this looks really ridiculous against the background of common challenges and threats facing both our countries and the world," Zakharova stressed.

    On Wednesday, December 20, the United States included five new Russians in its sanctions list, including the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

    The United States, in December 2012, adopted the Magnitsky Act, specifying sanctions against Russians involved, in the opinion of US authorities, in the violation of human rights. The Russian authorities, in turn, have repeatedly stated that the politicization of the Magnitsky case is inadmissible.

    US Sniper Rifles Supplied to Ukraine

    We are extremely disappointed with the information that Washington has licensed an unnamed arms manufacturer to deliver large-caliber Barrett M107A1 sniper rifles to Kiev. Washington officially announced the supplies of weapons to Ukraine for the first time," Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

    READ MORE: Situation in Ukraine to 'Explode' If US Sends Offensive Weapons to Kiev – MP

    By supplying weapons to Kiev, the United States is pushing it to resume bloodshed in Donbas, in fact becoming an accomplice in the killings, Zakharova said.

    "The position of the incumbent Kiev authorities is well known to us, and today it is clear not only to us but, it seems to me, already to the overwhelming majority of experts. By arming the Kiev authorities, the United States is actually pushing for the resumption of large-scale bloodshed in Donbas, where the situation is already critical due to constant shelling, right from the Kiev-controlled side," she said.

    On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the State Department approved a sale worth $41.5 million for M107A1 sniper systems, ammunition as well as associated parts and accessories to Ukraine. A US State Department official has confirmed to Sputnik that the United States approved licenses for the commercial export of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    Related:

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    Canada Sanctions 30 Russian Individuals Over Magnitsky Case
    Canada’s Magnitsky Law 'Irrational Act Sponsored by Fugitive Fraudster'
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    sanctions, Magnitsky Act, United States, Russia
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