Russia fired its latest salvo in the escalating sanctions row over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, permanently banning 25 American citizens, including actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn, from entering the country.
The list, which also includes senators and think tank analysts, is “in response to the Biden administration’s ever-expanding personal sanctions against Russian nationals,” according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry website in Moscow.
The statement did not specify how the list was compiled. Both actors have traveled to Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky since the invasion, with Stiller telling the Ukrainian leader in June: “You’re my hero.”
Sanctions by the U.S. and its allies over the war have targeted businessmen and officials, freezing more than $30 billion in Russian assets since late June.
In August, the US Treasury Department announced a new round of measures against “Kremlin-linked elites”, including the billionaire owner of Phosagro PJSC Andrey Guriev and Alina Kabaeva, head of a pro-Kremlin media group and former lawmaker who has “close ties” to Putin .
There have been calls to widen the number of targets, with jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation issuing a list of more than 6,000 people it wants blacklisted as aides to the Putin regime.
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