White House makes light of Russia's retaliatory sanctions

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday made light of Russia's retaliatory sanctions against U.S. officials, saying Moscow may have inadvertently sanctioned the deceased father of Joe Biden by omitting the suffix "junior" from the spelling of the U.S. president's name.

Russia said on Tuesday it had placed Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA chief William Burns, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and a handful of other U.S. officials on a "stop list" that bars them from entering the country.

"President Biden is a junior so they may have sanctioned his dad, may he rest in peace" Psaki said. "None of us are planning tourist trips to Russia, none of us have bank accounts that we won't be able to access, so we will forge ahead," she added.

Aimed at retaliating against U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the move appeared largely symbolic, since Russia's Foreign Ministry said it was maintaining official relations and if necessary would make sure that high-level contacts with the listed individuals could take place.

"I think we are confident that if we need to have ... direct and indirect conversations with Russia we will be able to do that."

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Sandra Maler)