Russia warns of tough response to U.S. human rights bill

MOSCOW Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:29am EST

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MOSCOW Nov 15 (Reuters) - Russia warned on Thursday that the U.S. Congress will damage relations with Moscow if it passes legislation designed to punish Russian officials for human rights violations, and promised a firm response.

U.S. lawmakers may vote on Friday on a measure directing the government to deny visas to Russian officials involved in the detention, abuse or death of a lawyer who died in a Moscow jail in 2009 and freeze any assets they might have in U.S. banks.

"Such a step will unavoidably have a negative effect of the whole range of Russian-U.S. relations ... We will have to react, and react toughly, depending on the final version of this unfriendly, provocative act," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

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