US blacklists Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov over human rights record
"Today, the Department of State is publicly designating Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020," the statement reads.
The agency said that it has "extensive credible information that Kadyrov is responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings."
The statement also alleges that Kadyrov has used the coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to inflict further human rights abuses on people in the region.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by saying that "it will be hard to respond reciprocally, but we will figure something out".
Kadyrov reacted to the news by posting a picture on Telegram of himself wielding two machine guns with the caption: "Pompeo, we accept the fight! It'll be more fun from here on out!"
Kadyrov was first sanctioned by the US in 2017 under the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law allowing US authorities to issue bans visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials linked to the death in prison of Sergey Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian auditor and whistleblower.
In 2016, Congress passed a second bill, known as the Global Magnitsky Act, an expanded version of the 2012 document which enabled the US government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.