Russia bans 963 Americans from entering country

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Russia on Saturday released a list of 963 Americans it said were banned from entering the country, a punctuation of previously announced moves against president Joe Biden and other senior US officials.

The country, which has received global condemnation for its 24 February invasion of Ukraine, said it would continue to retaliate against what it called hostile US actions, Reuters reported.

The lifetime bans imposed on the Americans, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and CIA head William Burns, are largely symbolic.

Related: Putin warns Ukraine allies against intervention | First Thing

They came on the same day Biden signed a support package providing nearly $40bn (£32bn) in aid for Ukraine.

But the latest action by Russia forms part of a downward spiral in the country’s relations with the west since its invasion of Ukraine, which prompted Washington and allies to impose drastic sanctions on Moscow and step up arms supplies to Ukraine’s military.

Several on the Russian government’s list of undesirables wouldn’t have been able to make the trip anyway: they are already dead.

John McCain, the former Republican US presidential candidate and long-serving senator; Democrat Harry Reid, who served as senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015; and Orrin Hatch, whose 42 years in the chamber made him the longest-serving Republican senator in history; are all included.

McCain died in August 2018 at the age of 81; Reid died last December, aged 82; and Hatch died on 23 April at 88.

Notably, Donald Trump, who as president from 2017 to 2021 sought a close relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, is absent from the ban list.

Others who are still very much alive, but now banned from Russia for perceived slights against Putin or his regime, are the actor Morgan Freeman, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, British journalist and CNN correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of the DreamWorks animation studio.

Last month, Russia’s foreign ministry banned Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Ben Wallace and 10 other British government members from entering the country.

The ministry said the decision was made “in view of the unprecedented hostile action by the UK government”.