Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Thursday that it would be barring a number of top Biden officials and others from entering Russia, including Vice President Harris, White House chief of staff Ron Klain and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“In response to the ever-expanding anti-Russian sanctions, under which the Biden Administration brings an increasing number of Russian citizens – both officials and their families, as well as representatives of business circles, scientists and cultural figures – 29 Americans are included in the ‘stop list’ from among the top leaders, businessmen, experts and journalists who form the Russophobic agenda, as well as the spouse of a number of high-ranking officials,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The individuals barred from entering Russia in the country’s latest round of sanctions also include Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, State Department spokesman Ned Price, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and Evan Maureen Ryan, who is the White House Cabinet secretary and wife of Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
During a briefing on Thursday, Price called the move “nothing less than an accolade.”
“In addition to the Vice President, today’s tranche included journalists and spokespeople for this administration, myself included,” Price said, according to CNN.
“I have to say it is nothing less than an accolade to earn the ire of a government that lies to its own people, brutalizes its neighbors and seeks to create a world where freedom and liberty are put on the run and, if they had their way, extinguished.”
Russia’s latest announcement further exacerbates the fragile diplomatic state of affairs between the country and much of the rest of the world amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The foreign ministry last week announced that it was sanctioning 398 members of Congress in response to similar sanctions levied against more than 300 lawmakers. It has also been engaged in a diplomatic expulsion tit-for-tat with a number of European Union member states, with several of those countries and Russia announcing the expulsion of one another’s diplomats.