Moscow sees recent actions by the UK against Russian citizens and a rapid response unit of the National Guard as a politically motivated "demarche" and reserves the right to respond in a reciprocal manner, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
"We see this as a sign that the British authorities are not ready to abandon their confrontational trend regarding relations with Russia. Naturally, this politically motivated demarche will negatively affect bilateral relations", Zakharova added.
The UK on 10 December announced that it had included three Russian nationals, Chechen Parliament Speaker Magomed Daudov, Head of the Chechen Ministry of Internal Affairs Aiub Kataev and his deputy Apti Alaudinov, to the sanctions list. In addition, the local Terek Special Rapid Response Unit was also added to the list of sanctioned entities.
London accused the Russian citizens and rapid response unit of purportedly engaging in torture and "other human rights violations against LGBT people" living in Russia's Chechen Republic.
Western countries have repeatedly condemned Moscow and the Chechen authorities for allegedly violating the rights of the LGBT community. The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the accusations that LGBT people in his republic are being tortured and even doubted their existence in the region. The Kremlin said it had no information about any torture or mistreatment taking place in Chechnya, but sent an investigative team, which ultimately found no proof to substantiate the claims.