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State Duma Adopts Russian Countersanctions Bill

The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has approved in its third and final reading a bill that provides for countermeasures against the United States and other countries that imposed sanctions against Russia.

The bill is expected to be adopted by the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, before going to President Vladimir Putin to be signed into law.

The proposed legislation would give the Russian government the authority to ban trade in certain items with countries that "implement unfriendly moves towards Russia."

Under the bill, the decision about what products or services would be affected by the restrictions would be made by the government following a decision by Putin to impose restrictions against a country.

The proposed legislation is seen as an effort by Moscow to respond to the asset freezes and financial restrictions on Russian officials, tycoons, and companies associated with Putin imposed by the U.S. government in April.

Those sanctions, the latest in a series of measures taken by the United States, the European Union, and other countries since Russia seized Crimea and began backing armed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014, were meant to punish Moscow for alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other "malign activity around the globe."