Russia has responded to the latest round of U.S. sanctions by announcing a travel ban on 500 prominent Americans, which includes former President Barack Obama and comedian Stephen Colbert. The Russian Foreign Ministry released a list of individuals who are now prohibited from entering the country, citing various reasons for their inclusion.
While specific complaints against each individual were not specified, the Foreign Ministry stated that the offenses included spreading anti-Russian sentiments (referred to as Russophobia), supplying arms to Ukraine, and involvement in the persecution of dissidents following the events of the Capitol breach.
Among those banned are 45 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Senators J.D. Vance, Katie Britt, and Eric Schmitt, as well as former U.S. ambassadors to Russia, John Tefft, and Jon Huntsman.
In addition to the travel ban, the Russian Foreign Ministry revealed that a U.S. request for consular access to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March and charged with espionage, has been denied. This decision was reportedly in response to the United States denying visas to Russian journalists seeking to cover Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to the United Nations the previous month.
The new U.S. sanctions against Russia primarily target individuals and companies involved in the war effort, imposing stricter restrictions on those who have evaded previous sanctions related to technology procurement for the Kremlin.
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that these travel bans are a direct response to the ongoing anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the Joe Biden administration. The ministry emphasized that it is time for Washington to realize that any hostile actions against Russia will be met with a strong reaction.
The travel bans serve as a means to demonstrate Russia's disapproval and highlight its willingness to take measures against perceived aggressions. By imposing these restrictions, Russia aims to convey its message to the United States regarding the consequences of its actions.
A list of US citizens under personal sanctions, including a ban on entry to the Russian Federation, can be found here.
What Were The American Decisions That Made Russia Do This?
The United States, in cooperation with the G7 and other international partners, intensified global sanctions and began implementing new economic measures to further weaken the Russian Federation's ability to fight against Ukraine. The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action to hold Russia accountable for its illegal aggression, in line with commitments made at the G7 Leaders' Summit.
Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen stated, "Since the beginning of President Putin's unwarranted and unlawful war, our international coalition has been focused on supporting Ukraine while diminishing Russia's capacity to carry out its invasion." She added, "Our collective efforts have disrupted Russia's access to essential resources for its military and significantly reduced the Kremlin's funding for its war machine. Today's measures will further tighten the pressure on Putin's ability to pursue his brutal invasion and advance our global campaign to prevent Russian evasion of sanctions."
OFAC's sanctions target 22 individuals and 104 entities involved in efforts to circumvent or evade sanctions, as well as the channels Russia uses to acquire critical technology, future energy extraction capabilities, and the financial services sector. In addition, OFAC expanded the scope of sanctions to target new sectors of the Russian economy and restrict their access to certain services. The US State Department has also designated approximately 200 individuals, organizations, ships, and aircraft as blocked property. The U.S. Department of Commerce significantly expands export controls, expands their territorial reach and scope, and adds 71 entities to its Entity List to prevent Russia from acquiring essential goods for the battlefield.
Additionally, the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) have issued an additional alert urging continued vigilance to detect possible escapes from Russia's export controls. This alert provides financial institutions with additional information on the new BIS export control restrictions on Russia, building on the previous joint alert issued in June 2022. It further strengthens the ongoing efforts and initiatives of the US government to restrict and block Russia's access to technology and goods necessary for its military and defense industries. The alert includes avoidance patterns and highlights additional transactional and behavioral indicators for financial institutions to identify potential red flags.