On December 12, Russia said that it will issue a “retaliatory response” to the UK sanctions over alleged human rights abuses in Russia’s Chechen Republic. Calling the UK’s sanctions as “groundless” and asserting that Russia reserved the right to retaliate, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Kremlin was “perplexed” by the decision announced by the UK government on December 10. The UK sanctioned at least three Russian citizens and a Russian National Guard, and the Terek Special Rapid Response Unit due to alleged humanitarian crimes.

“Undoubtedly, this politically biased demarche will have a negative impact on Russian-UK interstate relations. Taking into account the principle of reciprocity, we reserve the right to take adequate retaliatory measures,” Zakharova reportedly said. He added, that Moscow regards “this groundless decision as a clear demonstration of the unwillingness of the UK authorities to abandon their confrontational policies towards Russia.” UK has recently adopted its own amended Magnitsky Act which was introduced by the US in 2012 to target foreign citizens and organisations in case they violated human rights.