While it may seem like a luxury to some to ban the likes of left-wing actor Sean Penn, the reasoning behind such a banning is another story entirely.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it has now banned Penn and fellow actor Ben Stiller from entering the country, along with six more U.S. senators, according to Fox News. The names adding to a growing list of public figures Vladimir Putin has banned from Mother Russia “based on the principle of reciprocity” — the so-called “stop list” now features 1,073 names in total.
“In response to the ever-expanding personal sanctions by the Biden Administration against Russian citizens, against another group of persons from among members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures (25 people), a ban on entry into the Russian Federation on a permanent basis,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The hostile actions of the American authorities, which continue to follow a Russophobic course, destroying bilateral ties and escalating confrontation between Russia and the United States, will continue to be resolutely rebuffed,” the release added.
Among those who are now banned from entering Russia “on a permanent basis” are U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Senators Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Michael Rounds, R-S.D., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Rick Scott, R-Fla. and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
The move comes with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in its seventh month. Penn and Stiller have been strong advocates for Ukraine throughout the unprovoked conflict.
Stiller met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in June while serving in the capacity of a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He also met with Ukrainian refugees forced to flee their homes.
“I’m meeting people who have been impacted by the war, and hearing how it’s changed their lives. War and violence are devastating people all over the world,” Stiller said in an Instagram video posted in June. “Nobody chooses to flee their homes. Seeking safety is a right and it needs to be upheld for every person.”
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Penn, who has also met with Zelenskyy, spent considerable time on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about the Russia invasion and even said at one point earlier this year that he was considering “taking up arms against Russia.”
Former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler, the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and author of Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America, spoke to Fox News Digital about the “diplomatic warfare” Russia is engaging in with the bans.
“This is diplomatic warfare with the targets being government officials, business executives and high-profile individuals rather than military installations, and weapons being economic sanctions and travel restrictions rather than bombs and missiles,” Koffler said.
“It is largely symbolic at this point. Russia’s sanctions aren’t really biting that much because few U.S. citizens would want to travel to Russia or do business with Moscow,” she added.
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