Russia Drops Banhammer Against Critics

In reaction to Washington’s latest round of penalties, Russia’s foreign ministry stated on Friday that former President Barack Obama would be among 500 U.S. people who would be barred from entering Russia.

The ministry also reported that the United States’ most recent request for consular access to Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich, who was jailed in March on accusations of spying, had been denied by Russia.

According to a statement, this decision was prompted by the United States’ rejection of issuing visas last month to reporters who wished to travel to the United Nations with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister.

It said Washington should have learned the lesson long ago – any hostile attack on Russia would be retaliated.

Earlier on Friday, the United States announced punitive actions against more than 300 targets, intensifying one of the strongest sanctions initiatives ever imposed to penalize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Senators Katie Britt, J.D. Vance, Eric Schmitt, ex-Ambassadors to Russia Jon Huntsman, and John Tefft are among the 45 members of the House of Representatives who have signed on to the prohibition.

In retaliation, Russia has increased the number of Americans targeted by its sanctions. They’ve singled out 500 people for financial and travel restrictions. 

The ministry listed the transgressions as including direct involvement in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called ‘storm of the Capitol, spreading Russophobia, and supplying Ukraine with arms.

The media has noticed that many on the list are enemies of former President Donald Trump, fueling the discredited theory that Trump is in cahoots with Putin.

Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, who has sued Trump for alleged fraud, is on the list.

Also included is Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result when pressured to do so by President Trump. On January 6, 2021, Lt. Michael Byrd of the Capitol Police fatally shot pro-Trump protester Ashli Babbitt.

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, CNN anchor Erin Burnett, late-night hosts  Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert, MSNBC host Rachel Maddowformer, MSNBC host Brian Williams, and frequent cable news pundit Norm Eisen are among those who have been blacklisted for their outspoken criticism of former President Trump in the media.

Sanctions target a wide range of individuals, not just Trump’s detractors. Recently announced fines include Republican Senator J.D. Vance, an ardent Trump supporter.