BLAGOVESHCHENSK, Russia — The forthcoming publication of a list of Russians barred from the United States over alleged human-rights abuses will severely strain relations, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Friday, but he also sought to limit the damage.
"The appearance of any lists will doubtless have a very negative effect on bilateral Russian-American relations," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"At the same time, these bilateral relations are very multifaceted, and even under the burden of such possible negative manifestations . . . they still have many prospects for further development and growth."
President Barack Obama must by Saturday submit a list of Russians to be barred entry to the United States under a law penalizing Moscow for alleged human rights abuses. Their assets in the United States will also be frozen.
The Magnitsky Act is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in prison in disputed circumstances while awaiting trial on fraud. He had accused Russian officials of stealing $230 million from the state through fraudulent tax rebates.
Moscow has warned it will respond by naming Americans barred from Russia under retaliatory legislation signed by Putin, and the spat threatens to cast a shadow over a visit to Russia by Obama's national security adviser — Tom Donilon — who is to hold high-level talks in Moscow on Monday.
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