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The United States has expressed concern about Russian legislation that would force rights and campaign groups funded from abroad to register as foreign agents.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the law would impose tough new limitations on pro-democracy organizations.

Ventrell said the United States has communicated "deep concern" to Moscow after the Russian lower house of Parliament gave initial approval to the bill, which is supported by President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.

The draft law would tighten controls on nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funding by forcing them to submit reports on their activity twice a year. The bill is expected to go through a second reading in the State Duma on July 13, and if passed, to be approved by the upper house -- the Federation Council -- on July 18.

Based on reporting by Reuters

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