Russia vows to reciprocate US sanctions

Moscow warned that Washington's decision Friday to slap sanctions on 18 people believed linked to the 2009 death of a Russian rights lawyer would further poison bilateral relations.

"This move will just inject more bad blood into Russian-American relations that have already become complicated recently," an official at the foreign ministry told the Interfax news agency on condition of anonymity.

The publication of this list "will lead to similar measures on Russia's part," the official said. "Responsibility for the consequences lies squarely with the American side."

The United States announced that it had imposed financial sanctions on 18 people seen as linked to Moscow's handling of the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a human rights lawyer who died in prison.

The US is also expected to release publicly the names of possibly scores of Russians hit with sanctions and blacklisted from receiving a visa to the United States under the "Sergei Magnitsky Act" passed last year.

Moscow reacted with anger when the Magnitsky Act was passed last year and in retaliation Russia's parliament agreed legislation barring American families from adopting Russian children.

The Russian foreign ministry has since drawn up its own blacklist of US officials alleged to have committed human rights violations.