Russia Sanctions US President and Chiefs of Pentagon and CIA
Russia on Tuesday sanctioned US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and ten other administration officials and political figures.
Moscow has said that the sanctions are a reciprocal measure, imposed after Washington blacklisted top Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin.
The latest additions to Russia’s “stop list” were announced by the Kremlin on Tuesday, and were described as a “counter reaction” to the “extremely Russophobic course taken by the current US administration.”
Appearing at the top of the 13-name list is President Biden, followed by Blinken and Austin. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki are also named. Further down the list, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Biden’s son Hunter – whose dealings with a Ukrainian energy firm have previously been questioned and criticized – are also included.
Inclusion on the list denies any of these people entry into the Russian Federation. The Kremlin’s statement did, however, state that Moscow would not rule out contact with American officials “if they meet our national interests.”
More names will be added to the list “in the near future,” the statement continued, warning that “top US officials, military officials, lawmakers, businessmen, experts and media personalities who are Russophobic or contribute to inciting hatred towards Russia” will also be blacklisted.
The US has previously sanctioned Russian businesspeople and media figures, so retaliatory sanctions by Moscow could potentially be applied in a tit-for-tat manner.
In the nearly three weeks since the launch of its military offensive in Ukraine, Russia has become the world’s most sanctioned nation. In addition to the penalties applied by the governments of the US, UK, and EU, scores of private companies – ranging from iconic western brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to global financial institutions like Visa and Mastercard – have suspended their activities in Russia.