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Kadyrov places retaliatory sanctions on US politicians

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The Chechen dictator has announced retaliatory sanctions on US officials after the United States Department of State placed sanctions on him last month. 

Head of Chechnya Kadyrov votes in 2020 Russian constitutional referendum Photo by ChGTRK\TASS via Getty Images

Ramzan Kadyrov announced sanctions against US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in response to Washington’s latest round of sanctions against the Chechen dictator and his family.

“I declare that we will impose [on Pompeo] all the sanctions that we have in the republic, up to and including blocking his accounts. They did the same against me,” Kadyrov said.

On July 20, 2020, the United States Department of State announced its decision to sanction Kadyrov for “gross violations of human rights.” According to the official press release, Kadyrov is publicly designated under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 due to “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.”

Human rights organizations and international watchdogs have repeatedly linked Kadyrov and his cronies to abysmal abuses against dissidents, LGBTQ+ individuals, journalists, and activists who oppose Kadyrov’s corrupt dictatorship. HBO recently produced a documentary titled “Welcome to Chechnya: Inside the Russian Republic’s Deadly War on Gays,” which documented Chechnya’s anti-gay purge that has been taking place in the republic since 2017.

The sanctions, which include financial limitations and visa bans, also apply to Kadyrov’s spouse, Medni Kadyrova, and his daughters Aishat Kadyrova and Karina (aka Khadizhat) Kadyrova. Washington also encouraged other countries to take similar actions against Kadyrov and his family.

“Today’s action serves to notify Mr. Kadyrov that his involvement in gross violations of human rights has consequences, both for him and his family, and that the United States is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to ensure accountability for those who engage in this abhorrent behavior,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Kadyrov expressed bemusement at the inclusion of his wife and family on the sanctions list, who, amongst other things, are now banned from getting US visas.

“Having no evidence, without a trial, we [Kadyrov and his family] were included in the list of the most serious American sanctions,” the Chechen leader said. “If I have committed a crime, what have my children got to do with it? Where is it written that married daughters are responsible for the sins of their father?”

The dictator, who continues to maintain a relationship with the US-based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with a handful of Kadyrov-affiliated fighters signed to the current roster, also added that he had “reliable information” that Pompeo “ordered” the killing of George Floyd in order to sabotage US President Donald Trump’s upcoming presidential election.