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U.S. sanctions five Russian officials for human rights abuses


Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, the prime suspects in the 2006 murder of Litvinenko in London, were among five new names the U.S. State and Treasury Departments added to the "Magnitsky list" for human rights abuses, the Guardian reported.

The Obama administration has sanctioned top allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, including a senior federal investigator, and the alleged assassins of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy.

Officials in Washington said the sanctions are linked to a law aimed at punishing human rights violations.

British investigators have accused Lugovoi, a member of Russia's lower house of parliament, of carrying out the 2006 poisoning of Litvinenko at a hotel in central London.

Trump says he wants to improve ties with Russia that have been badly strained by the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and by an alleged Russian effort to meddle in the US presidential election. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway reaffirmed on Monday that Trump plans to ease US sanctions against Russian Federation upon taking office later this month.

Abbotsford's Juulsen, Team Canada playing for gold
It was Terry's fourth shootout goal in two days as he scored three in the semifinal game against Russian Federation on Wednesday. After all, he was on the ice for almost 60 more minutes than the next-highest player in terms of ice time.

Washington expelled 35 Russian diplomats last month over United States accusations that Russia influenced the November 8 presidential election in favour of Trump and against his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

However, Obama's response to alleged Russian Federation hacking attacks was "disproportionate", says a top aide to Trump, noting that the Republican president-elect is likely to roll back some of his predecessor's actions against Moscow once he gets into office.

"There is no ground to think that his (Magnitsky's) death was connected to actions of officials who prosecuted him", said Bastrykin in a 2010 interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Bastrykin heads the Russian Investigative Committee, the government body that decides whether to bring criminal charges.

The law withdrew Russian Federation from a bilateral treaty to reduce weapons-grade plutonium stockpiles and listed the lifting of all USA sanctions and the repeal of the Magnitsky Act as preconditions for resumption of the accord.

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