Moscow has turned up its tit-for-tat measures against the US and Canada, this time by sanctioning numerous White House officials and top Canadian leadership members in response to crippling restrictions imposed by western nations critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military operation in Ukraine.
Russia decided to retaliate against Western sanctions, this time by banning various members of US federal government, including the president himself. The vindictive measures stretch out to Biden’s key administration figures, including Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Chief William Burns, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who has been a main figure in the coordination of sanctions against Russian entities, banks, politicians, and oligarchs.
Also added to the list is two-time presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, who visited Russia on several occasions during her tenure as secretary of state. The freshly imposed restrictions will bar the sanctioned individuals from entering Russia, and their assets will be frozen. However, the move is mostly a symbolic one— it would be nearly impossible for Moscow to freeze the US officials’ assets unless they are actually held in Russia, and its also not likely that any government member from Washington is too keen on traveling to the country anytime soon.
Also joining the 79-year-old US president on Russia’s “black list” is Canadian Prime Justin Trudeau and his Liberal circus of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Defence Minister Anita Anand. The Russian foreign ministry also banned other Canadian federal party leaders from entering the country, including interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, and Green Party parliamentary leader Elizabeth May, as well as hundreds of MPs from various parties.
“This step is forced and taken in response to the outrageous hostility of the current Canadian regime, which has tested our patience for so long. Every Russophobic attack, be it attacks on Russian diplomatic missions, airspace closures, or Ottawa’s actual severing of bilateral economic ties to the detriment of Canadian interests, will inevitably receive a decisive and not necessarily symmetrical rebuff,” said Russia’s foreign ministry in a statement.
However, this is not the first time Canadian officials have been banned from stepping foot on Russian soil. In 2014, current Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was quietly added to Moscow’s black list, after Canada joined western nations in imposing sanctions against Russia over Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Freeland previously worked as a financial journalist in Moscow for a number of years before diverting her time and attention to Canadian politics.
Trudeau, for his part, appeared unfazed by Moscow’s punitive restrictions, going as far as to sanction even more Russian officials in response.
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