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Russia's Lavrov Calls U.S. Magnitsky Act 'Odious'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds his traditional start-of-the-year press conference in Moscow on January 23.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is calling a recently passed U.S. law that targets Russian officials with sanctions for alleged human rights abuses "odious."

At a news conference on January 23, Lavrov said the so-called Magnitsky Act was a "cynical" attempt to punish Russia and interfere with Russian judicial reforms.

He added that he hoped to meet with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at a security conference in Munich on February 2 to discuss improving relations.

Lavrov denied a new Russian law banning U.S. families from adopting Russian orphans was connected with the Magnitsky legislation.

The U.S. law imposes asset freezes and visa restrictions on Russian officials linked to the death of whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail in 2009 and other alleged human rights abuses.

Based on reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS