Obama Banned From Where?

Pete Souza, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Russia bans access to hundreds of U.S. citizens, including former President Obama, political commentator Rachel Maddow, and late-night host Stephen Colbert, in response to U.S. sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

On Friday (May 19), the Russian foreign ministry revealed the bans on its website, explaining that it would deny entry to 500 Americans in response to sanctions aimed at inflicting as much damage as possible on Russian officials and civilians.

The banned list includes former officials, Democratic and Republican lawmakers who were elected to Congress in last year’s midterm elections and could have been missed in earlier rounds banning U.S. citizens.

The list of ban individuals also includes analysts and experts that Russia’s foreign ministry said are spreading “Russophobic” attitudes, in addition to companies who supplied weapons to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression.

The ministry said the list also includes individuals involved in the “persecution of dissidents” involved in the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.

The message on the website reads that “It is high time” for Washington to learn that no “hostile attack against Russia” would go without a “strong reaction.”

The message continued, stating the inevitable punishment will be “consistently applied” regardless if such punishment was promoted by enhanced sanctions or discriminatory measures that hinder the professional activities of Russian citizens.

The United States and Ukraine’s other Western allies have imposed sanctions on Russia several times since Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Russia’s most recent ban also targets Democratic Reps. Glenn Ivey (Md.) and Becca Balint (Vt.), Republican Senator Katie Britt (Ala.), New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves, and CNN anchor Erin Burnett.