Moscow bans 500 Americans, including Obama, from entering Russia
A number of Americans are now banned from entering the country in response to a new package of US sanctions.
In retaliation for the new round of US sanctions, Russia has barred 500 Americans from visiting the country, including former US President Barack Obama.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that “in response to the anti-Russian sanctions regularly imposed by the Biden administration... entry into the Russian Federation is closed for 500 Americans."
It went on to say that Obama was on the list, which also featured TV hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers, as well as CNN anchor Erin Burnett and MSNBC anchors Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough.
Earlier in the day, the United States banned hundreds of firms and individuals who import, export or produce electronics components, semiconductors, and microelectronics to Russia.
“Today’s actions will further tighten the vise on [Vladimir] Putin’s ability to wage his barbaric invasion and will advance our global efforts to cut off Russian attempts to evade sanctions,” US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, said in a statement. In addition, the Treasury Department announced penalties against Russia's energy, educational, and scientific institutions in an effort to "limit Russia's future extractive capabilities."
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The sanctions also target firms associated with the recent agreement between Iran and Russia to construct a railway part of the North-South Corridor. That said, Tehran has also attacked Washington's sanctions, claiming that the Rasht-Astara railway project is part of its neighbor-oriented strategy of cooperation for security, development, and common prosperity.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Friday that Washington "should have learned a long time ago that not a single hostile step against Russia will be left unanswered." It went on to say that Moscow had blacklisted senators, congressmen, and think-tank members "involved in the spread of Russophobic attitudes and fakes," as well as the leaders of corporations that "supply weapons to Ukraine."
Last year, Moscow barred US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and hundreds of other key officials from entering Russia in reaction to the Biden administration's "extremely Russophobic policy." Hunter Biden, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, CIA Director William Burns, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan were among those targeted.
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Earlier yesterday, Blinken announced that over 200 individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft have been targeted by the new US sanctions or actions blocking property. In his statement, Blinken revealed that "the Department of State is imposing sanctions on or identifying as blocked property over 200 entities, individuals, vessels, and aircraft."
Moreover, the statement noted that "today’s actions include designations of targets across Russia’s defense and related materiel, technology, and metals and mining sectors," adding that US restrictions "also include the designation of entities and individuals involved in expanding Russia’s future energy production and capacity."
Significantly, the statement highlighted that some sanctions targeted "entities and individuals that have engaged in the systematic and unlawful deportation of Ukraine’s children," an action that has been referred to, by Russian media, as the evacuation of minors from conflict regions. The statement also argued that the sanctions targeted personnel and entities that have also transported "stolen grain from Ukraine."
Moreover, it has been underscored that the newly imposed sanctions would serve to "reinforce the commitment the United States and its partners have made to taking action against those" who allegedly play a positive role in allowing Moscow to circumvent existing anti-Russia sanctions and export restrictions.