During a telephone briefing with journalists, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback confirmed that the US government may impose sanctions on Russia because of violations religious freedom. "They [ the Russian authorities] really… intensified their oppression," said Brownback while speaking of Russian authorities and religious freedoms, as quoted by TASS.
The briefing was held after US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s recent decision to assign some countries including Russia to the category of violators of religious freedoms in the world through another attempt at extraterritorial application of national legislation. Pompeo's decision was based on the American Law on International Religious Freedom of 1998.
In May, the US State Department published an annual report stating that Russian authorities continue to oppress religious minorities. This includes classifying the activities of certain religious groups as extremism.