Russia on Thursday slapped a travel ban on US Vice-President Kamala Harris and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in response to sanctions imposed over the Kremlin’s “military operations” in Ukraine. The travel ban also covers 27 other prominent Americans, reported news agency AFP. The Russian foreign ministry said the travel ban – which includes top Pentagon officials, US business leaders, and journalists – would remain in effect “in perpetuity”.
Among others, the US list includes ABC News television presenter George Stephanopoulos, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, and the Russia-focused Meduza news site’s editor Kevin Rothrock. US defence officials including Pentagon spokesman John Kirby and Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks also feature on the list, AFP added.
Russia had earlier banned Facebook and Instagram – part of Zuckerberg’s Meta empire –, calling them “extremist” organisations.
Russia has also hit 61 Canadian citizens – including several officials and journalists – with the “indefinite” travel ban. The foreign ministry said the list includes those “directly involved in the development, substantiation and implementation of the Russophobic course of the ruling regime in Canada”.
Russia’s travel ban came after various countries including the United States, European Union imposed fresh sanctions to deter Moscow from its war on Ukraine, which entered day 57 on Thursday.
Britain Thursday set out 26 new sanctions targeting Russian military generals responsible for what it called atrocities in Ukraine, as well as individuals and businesses supporting the Russian armed forces. “Today’s new wave of sanctions hits the generals and defence companies that have blood on their hands,” foreign minister Liz Truss said in a statement
Russia had earlier this week announced the second phase of the war in Eastern Ukraine with the “Battle of Donbas” after failing to capture the capital Kyiv and being forced to withdraw from the north.
Russia calls its incursion a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv and its Western allies reject that as a false pretext for an illegal war of aggression.
(With agency inputs)