In retaliation, Russia imposed travel bans on US Vice President Kamala Harris, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and dozens of other prominent Americans and Canadians in retaliation for Ukraine sanctions.
The Russian foreign ministry stated that the travel ban on 29 Americans and 61 Canadians – which includes defence officials, business leaders, and journalists from both countries – would remain in effect indefinitely.
According to the foreign ministry, the list included individuals responsible for the two countries’ “russophobic” policies.
In Washington, one of the targeted officials, State Department spokesman Ned Price, called the travel ban an “honour.”
Price told reporters that earning the wrath of a government that lies to its own people, brutalises its neighbours, and seeks to create a world where freedom and liberty are threatened and, if they had their way, extinguished, is nothing short of an honour.
When asked if he had to cancel any travel plans to Russia, Price responded, “Fortunately, I didn’t have any rubles, and even if I did, they’d be worthless by now.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, who was also included on the list, retorted that it was a “good group to be a part of.”
As a response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the US has led international efforts to impose broad sanctions on the country. This has caused a lot of damage to Russia’s economy.
The United States and the European Union have put sanctions on people in Russia, including President Vladimir Putin, his daughters, and oligarchs thought to be important to the Russian leader’s power.
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, a columnist for the Washington Post, and the editor of the Meduza news site, Kevin Rothrock, were also banned by Russia on Thursday.
Another US defence official, Kathleen Hicks, is another US defence official.
Cameron Ahmad, the Prime Minister’s director of communications, and Canadian Special Operations Forces Commander Steve Boivin are among the Canadians on the list.
In the past, Russia banned Facebook and Instagram, both of which are owned by Zuckerberg’s Meta empire, on the grounds that they were “extremist.”