The Congress is expected to release the list on Friday. The Russians on the list will be hit with financial sanctions and visa bans under a law dubbed the “Magnitsky Act,” named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in jail in 2009.
The law was passed in the US on December 6, targeting Russian officials suspected of ties to Magnitsky’s death, but it also contains sanctions against all Russian officials allegedly guilty of “gross violations of human rights.”
Lawmakers behind the legislation are pressuring US President Barack Obama’s administration to target high-level officials, including Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, and Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, who are both close acquaintances of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The hit list originally started with 250 names, though the Obama administration can update the names at any time and is expected to release a much shorter list.
The announcement, however, has drawn harsh criticism from Moscow, with Russia prepared to adopt counter moves in a bid to sanction a number of American officials for their alleged human rights violations.
On January 1, Russian lawmakers enforced, among other sanctions, a ban on Americans adopting Russian children in retaliation to the US passing of the Magnitsky Act.