US state department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington was concerned by the apparent "abusive use of the legal system for improper ends, particularly now that Khodorkovsky and [former business partner Platon] Lebedev have been sentenced to the maximum penalty". Later an unnamed senior US administration official, quoted by Reuters news agency, said the sentencing might complicate Russia's expected entry to the World Trade Organisation in 2011.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "disappointed" by the sentence. "The impression remains that political motives played a role in the trial," she said in a statement.
And UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was deeply concerned and urged Russia "to respect the principles of justice and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory and proportional way". "In the absence of this the UK and much of the international community will regard such a trial as a retrograde step," Mr Hague added.