Obama, 499 Other Americans Banned From Entering Russia

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Russia’s foreign ministry has said former President Barack Obama is among 500 US citizens who will be banned in response to the latest round of sanctions announced by Washington.

The ministry also said on Friday that Russia had refused the latest US request for consular access to the detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March on suspicion of spying.

This move was triggered by the US refusal last month to give visas to media traveling with the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to the United Nations, it said in a statement.

“Washington should have learned a long time ago that not a single hostile attack on Russia will go unpunished,” it added.

Earlier on Friday the United States announced punitive measures against more than 300 targets, aiming to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and intensifying one of the harshest sanctions efforts ever implemented.

“Today’s actions will further tighten the vise on [Vladimir] Putin’s ability to wage his barbaric invasion and will advance our global efforts to cut off Russian attempts to evade sanctions,” the US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, said in a statement.

The treasury department said it imposed sanctions on 22 people and 104 entities with touchpoints in over 20 countries or jurisdictions, including companies that import, ship or manufacture electronics components, semiconductors and microelectronics to Russia.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said Friday’s action targeted an international network that procures components for the Russia-based entity responsible for the manufacture of the Orlan drone, which Russian forces and their proxies are using in Ukraine.

Among the targets on Friday were Russian intelligence services procurement networks and agents, including in Liechtenstein and the Netherlands. The Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation was also hit with sanctions.

The treasury department said it was also imposing sanctions on Russia’s energy educational and research institutions in a bid to “limit Russia’s future extractive capabilities”.