MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia has banned several US citizens from entering the country in retaliation for Washington's visa blacklist for Russian officials behind the death of a lawyer in prison, a report said Wednesday. The tit-for-tat move, reminiscent of the Cold War, is the latest sign of the damage inflicted on improving ties by the row over the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky which has become one of Russia's most notorious rights cases. Russia is banning entry for US citizens deemed to have violated the rights of Russians including Viktor Bout, the alleged arms trader known in the West as the "Merchant of Death" who is now in US custody, the Kommersant daily said. The United States announced last month it put officials it believes are responsible for the death of Magnitsky on a visa blacklist, provoking a warning from Moscow it risked harming the "reset" in ties. Kommersant quoted concurring sources as saying Russia's list, containing "several dozen Americans", was already ready even though their names would never be disclosed publicly. It said those on the list are likely to include officials from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) implicated in the arrest of Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot detained in a drugs smuggling case. "The list will not be made public. The Americans did not publish theirs and we will not show ours," a Russian official told the paper. Another source said those on the list would not just be officials involved in the Bout and Yaroshenko cases as there is a "whole range of instances of the rights of Russian citizens being infringed." Bout, suspected of having been one of the world's biggest arms traffickers, was arrested in a US sting in Thailand in 2008 and was extradited from Thailand to New York in November after a long legal battle. Russia has denied having any secrets to hide in the case, amid allegations that Bout has contacts with senior Russian agents. According to Kommersant, the US authorities violated Bout's rights by portraying him as an international arms dealer before any verdict was delivered. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov declined to confirm to the paper that the list was ready. But he confirmed "that any American guilty of violating the rights of a Russian" could be included. Magnitsky had been detained for 11 months awaiting trial in a high-profile fraud case. His supporters have argued top interior ministry officials deliberately neglected his health in an effective attempt to silence him. However Russia so far has only opened criminal probes against the doctor and deputy chief of a Moscow prison over his death, which was caused by untreated pancreatitis. Washington has appeared to back the claims of high-level responsibility over Magnitsky's death and the issue appears set to be a permanent irritant in relations, like the case of detained oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Veteran Russian rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva said a proper investigation into Magnitsky's death was required, rather than blacklists. "This was a crime which is worrying the whole global community," she told the Interfax news agency. The council that advises President Dmitry Medvedev on human rights issued a devastating report in July saying Magnitsky appeared to have been deliberately denied medical care and even beaten before his death. It also bitterly criticised the fact that the very investigators the lawyer had accused of fraud charged him with the same crimes and led the case against him. But so far the authorities have largely ignored the conclusions.