Moscow says it plans a retaliatory "stop list" on U.S. citizens in response to Washington's decision to impose new sanctions against several senior Russian officials over the poisoning of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.
"Taking into account how [the United States is] behaving now, how they published all the [sanction] lists, I think we will surprise them soon, as well. We are working on it," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a televised interview on March 5.
Washington announced on March 2 that it was sanctioning seven senior Russian officials, including Putin’s deputy chief of staff, after a U.S. intelligence assessment concluded with "high confidence" that officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) were behind the August poisoning of Navalny.
The Kremlin critic was detained in Moscow in January immediately upon returning from Germany, where he had been recovering from the attack, which several Western laboratories determined was done with a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent.
Navalny has accused President Vladimir Putin of being behind the attempted assassination attack, which the Kremlin has denied.
The U.S. announcement came on the heels of European Union sanctions against four senior Russian officials -- Aleksandr Kalashnikov, the federal prisons administrator; Aleksandr Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee; Igor Krasnov, Russia's prosecutor-general; and Viktor Zolotov, tghe director of the National Guard.
The United States also sanctioned Kalashnikov and Krasnov, as well as Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff; Andrei Yarin, the chief of the Kremlin’s domestic policy directorate; FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov; Aleksei Krivoruchko, deputy minister of defense responsible for armaments; and Pavel Popov, deputy minister of defense responsible for research activities.
Washington also imposed export restrictions on 14 parties involved in biological and chemical production, including nine commercial entities in Russia.
Earlier this week, some international and Russian media reports said that the United States might impose additional sanctions against Russian businessmen and the country's foreign debt over Russia's possession of chemical weapons.
Commenting on those reports on March 5, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the potential new sanctions "crazy."
"Nobody has imposed sanctions against Russian businessmen yet. And we, of course, hope that, let's say, such crazy calls will stay on the media pages and will not find, let's say, a fertile ground in the U.S. official establishment," Peskov said.
Peskov did not elaborate on possible Russian moves if new sanctions are imposed.
"Hypothetical assumptions of any kind are barely appropriate here. Let's wait and see what actually happens," Peskov said.
Navalny is currently in a prison near Moscow after a court in February ruled that, while in Germany, he violated the terms of parole from an older embezzlement case that is widely considered politically motivated. He was ultimately ordered to serve around 2 1/2 years in prison.