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Russia Criticizes U.S. Travel Ban On Top Chechen Lawmaker

Chechen Prime Minister Muslim Khuchiyev
Chechen Prime Minister Muslim Khuchiyev

Russia has criticized the United States for imposing a travel ban on Chechnya's prime minister, promising an unspecified response to the move.

The Foreign Ministry issued its statement on April 26, a day after the State Department said that it was sanctioning Muslim Khuchiyev, saying "the department has credible information that [Khuchiyev] was involved in torture."

"The decision announced in Washington to ban…Khuchiyev and his wife from entering the U.S. reflects the course toward further deteriorating Russian-U.S. relations," the ministry said in a statement published on its website.

"Of course, such hostile actions will not be left unanswered. However, we would like to recommend that Washington should think about the fact that the constant imposition of sanctions shows Washington in an increasingly unseemly light," it said.

The U.S. announcement said Khuchiyev was being sanctioned under a provision in U.S. law that stipulates sanctions when there is "credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights."

The U.S. announcement gave no details on the allegations of torture.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is himself under U.S. sanctions under a separate U.S. law, said in a post on his Telegram account that the decision to sanction Khuchiyev was "humorous" and will not affect his prime minister.

"He lived without any visits to the United States and will keep on living without them," Kadyrov said.

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