Russia Breaks Off Accord With U.S. on Law Enforcement, Drugs

Russia is scrapping a decade-long agreement with the U.S. on cooperation in law enforcement and drug control, the second move within a week reflecting worsening ties between the former Cold War foes.

The accord “doesn’t correspond to present-day realities and has exhausted its potential,” according to an order published on the government’s website today and signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Relations have worsened since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency last year with disputes over U.S. human rights sanctions and the Obama administration’s support for democratic rights in Russia and its efforts to oust the leadership of Soviet-era ally Syria. Last week, the U.S. said it was quitting a working group on civil society with Russia after the Kremlin increased limitations on non-government organizations.

“Ties are entering a serious cold phase,” Igor Yurgens, a former aide to Medvedev who now serves as a member of the presidential human rights commission, said in an interview today in Moscow. “The situation could escalate further.”

The U.S. in December passed legislation that will impose visa restrictions and an asset freeze on Russian officials allegedly linked to the 2009 death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management Ltd., as well as other officials accused of human rights abuses. Russia retaliated by barring American citizens from adopting Russian orphans.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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