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Russia bans over 900 Americans from visiting

By Winfrey Owino and Agencies - May 22nd 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on July 20, 2021. [Reuters]

Russia has banned more than 900 Americans from entering the country, including President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary Anthony Blinken.

Russia published its updated list on Saturday, May 21, banning a total of 963 American officials and public figures from entering the country.

The updated list includes the majority of US senators and members of the House of Representatives, former and current government officials, journalists, military personnel, advocates, citizens, CEOs — and even a few deceased individuals, CNN reports.

According to CNN, Russia has also targeted Hollywood, with actor Morgan Freeman and actor/filmmaker Rob Reiner making the list.

Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, was also listed. CNN reports that he had previously spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about its election interference in US elections. However, former President Donald Trump was not listed.

Russia vowed it would continue to retaliate against what it called hostile U.S. actions.

The largely symbolic travel bans form part of a downward spiral in Russia's relations with the West since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which prompted Washington and its allies to impose drastic sanctions on Moscow and step up arms supplies to Ukraine.

Separately, the Foreign Ministry said it had added 26 new names to a list of Canadians it has barred from travelling to Russia, including defence chiefs, defence industry executives and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Publishing the full list of banned Americans for the first time, the ministry said: "We emphasize that the hostile actions taken by Washington, which boomerang against the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff."

It said Russian counter-sanctions were a necessary response aimed at "forcing the ruling American regime, which is trying to impose a neo-colonial 'rules-based world order' on the rest of the world, to change its behaviour, recognizing new geopolitical realities."

Previously announced names on the huge list included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and CIA chief William Burns.

The new Canadian list was published four days after Canada introduced a bill that will ban President Vladimir Putin and about 1,000 members of his government and military from travelling there.

It included Jocelyn Paul, Eric Kenny and Angus Topshee, who was named last month as the new heads of the Canadian army, air force and navy, and executives of companies including Lockheed Martin Canada and Raytheon Canada.

In response to sanctions, Russia had already banned Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and hundreds of other Canadians from entering the country.

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