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Russia planning to ban political think tank Jon Huntsman Jr. once headed, report says

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. attends an opening ceremony of the stone of the memorial to members of the resistance at Nazis concentration camps during WWII, at the Jewish Museum and Center for Tolerance in Moscow, Russia. Russia intends to ban a think tank former Huntsman ran before being appointed U.S. ambassador to Moscow, calling it a security threat.
Alexander Zemlianichenko, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Russia intends to ban a think tank former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. ran before being appointed U.S. ambassador to Moscow, calling it a security threat.

Reuters reported Thursday that Russia was preparing to ban the Atlantic Council, where Huntsman served as chairman from 2013 to 2017.

"It has been established that the activities of this organization present a threat to the fundamentals of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation," Russia's prosecutor general's office said.

It gave no further details of the reasons for the ban, according to Reuters.

The move follows steps Moscow took against several other foreign non-government organizations since Russia's relations with the West deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 and the financial sanctions that followed, Reuters reported.

The General Prosecutor's Office said it had handed over its ruling to the Russian ministry of justice.

Atlantic Council president and CEO Frederick Kempe said he has seen the reports that the Russian prosecutor added the council to its list of “undesirable organizations,” which would mean that its activities had been deemed a threat to the national security of Russia.

"We have not been informed either formally or informally of the decision by the Russian authorities," he said in a statement.

"We are proud of the council’s long tradition of work with Russians and on Russia, and are disappointed that Russian authorities have announced this step," he said. "We are looking into the implications of this decision, which a number of our peer organizations have faced in recent years."

According to its website, the council, through its mission of “working together to secure the future,” the promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs.