Russia on Saturday imposed sanctions on 25 British diplomats in a move it described as a response to U.K. penalties against Russian officials over alleged human rights abuses earlier this year.
The move is the latest in a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Russia, whose relations have become increasingly tense since the attempted assassination of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal on British soil in 2018.
In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said that “in response to the unfriendly actions of the British authorities and on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, the Russian side made a decision to impose personal sanctions against 25 British representatives who are barred from entering the Russian Federation.” Moscow did not name which U.K. diplomats would be affected.
The British government in July announced it had banned 25 Russian nationals from entering the U.K., as well as freezing some of their international assets, in connection with the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in police custody in 2009 after he uncovered corruption linked to several high-level local officials.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the case, and described Britain’s response as an attempt to interfere with Russian internal affairs.
Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, said the decision to target the Russian diplomats with sanctions was part of the U.K.’s effort to uphold global human rights. “This is a demonstration of Global Britain’s commitment to acting as a force for good in the world,” he said in July.