Valentina Matviyenko
Chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko speaks during a meeting at the Nicaraguan parliament building as part of her official visit in Managua January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Russia finds it a violation of democracy that the United States imposes sanctions against its lawmakers. Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament, said that the U.S. sanctions against senators and deputies of the Russian parliament were illegitimate.

Matviyenko said in a video address Monday that the sanctions “put up obstacles for a full-scale inter-parliamentary collaboration.”

"They are illegal; they violate crudely the norms of international law, as well as the principles of democracy and freedom of speech," TASS quoted Matviyenko as saying. “Sanctions against members of parliament elected by voters in their country that are introduced in connection with their political views, all the more in the 21st century, are little more than a type of political persecution and distortion of the essence of parliamentarianism as a genuine institute of democracy.”

Matviyenko could not attend the forum as U.S. authorities had issued a restricted travel visa to her. Matviyenko is one among a number of Russian lawmakers, activists and business people whom Washington has blacklisted after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

The video address was briefly interrupted as no translation from Russian was available at the U.N. General Assembly. The technical glitch was soon corrected and the address resumed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. authorities were considering the option to impose sanctions against companies and individuals from both Russia and China after alleged cyberattacks against U.S. commercial targets.

While the Russian embassy did not respond to Reuters, Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhu Haiquan said in a statement that the Chinese government was strongly against all forms of cyberattacks. He added that the “groundless speculation” about China’s involvement in the alleged cyberattacks would not help solve the problem.