A general view shows the US embassy in Moscow, Russia. File/Reuters
Russia has permanently banned nearly 1,000 US citizens from entering the country — including the actor Morgan Freeman.
Civilians being killed in Donetsk assault: UN
Russia intensifies Donbas offensive as war enters fourth month
On Saturday (21 May), the country’s foreign ministry released a list of 963 American citizens who are barred from travelling to the country over their support of US-imposed “anti-Russian sanctions” a little ahead of three months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden (left) and Vice President Kamala Harris at an event. File photo
The “stop list” includes US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, journalists, deceased lawmakers, Freeman and fellow actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
In a news release, the ministry said: “In the context of response to the constantly imposed anti-Russian sanctions by the United States and in connection with incoming requests about the personal composition of our national ‘stop list’, the Russian Foreign Ministry publishes a list of American citizens who are permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation.”
Actor Morgan Freeman poses for a photograph. File photo
The reason for barring Academy Award winner Freeman — described as a “well-known actor” by Russia — reportedly dates back to September 2017 when the 84-year-old “recorded a video message accusing Russia of conspiring against the United States and calling for a fight against our country”.
Freeman had narrated a PSA for the Committee to Investigate Russia, a group which was set up to create awareness about Moscow’s interference in the US presidential election which saw Hillary Clinton lose to Donald Trump in November 2016.
Actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner attends an event. File photo
In it, Freeman said: “We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: a former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge. Taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-Soviet Russia and becomes president.
“He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy: the United States.”
The Independent has reached out to Freeman’s representatives for comment.
John McCain speaks during a rally. File photo
Reiner’s ban is reportedly over him being “one of the creators of the Internet resource Investigate Russia (investigaterussia.com)”.
The director of A Few Good Men founded the now-disbanded Committee and is listed among the nonprofit organisation’s board of directors.
Other prominent names on the “stop list” include US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Democrat House representative Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg, ABC News’s George Stephanopoulous and a number of US Senators who are in fact deceased, including John McCain, Harry M Reid and Orrin G Hatch.
Harry Reid speaks during an interview with the media.
In its statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said it was “open to honest, mutually respectful dialogue, separating the American people who are always respected by us, from the US authorities who incite Russophobia, and those who serve them”.
According to the Washington Post report, the “black list” includes US citizens from “all walks of life”, including an LGBT+ activist, rabbis and a Yale University professor.
Former President Donald Trump doesn’t feature on this list of banned Americans — but it does include former vice president Mike Pence.
United States President Joe Biden had said earlier Friday he did not know the whereabouts of Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, both US military veterans whose relatives lost contact with the pair.
Hours after the strikes, a Moscow-installed official in southern Ukraine said the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions would soon be "liberated” by Russian forces, just like the already occupied Kherson region further east.
Last Saturday, Russia struck another southern Ukrainian port of Odesa, casting doubt on a plan to restart Ukrainian grain exports.
The accident took place on Sunday evening between the towns of Sesto Calende and Arona, the BBC reported citing Italian news outlets. Italy's fire service said 19 people were safe but a search continued for the two missing persons.
Republicans have been seeking spending cuts in areas such as education and other social programmes in exchange for raising the $31.4tn debt limit. The proposed deal has now been published on the House website.
The governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaya, published a picture of the green liquid that spread through the water near the arched Rialto Bridge, through his account on Twitter, explaining that residents reported the presence of this strange liquid, expressing their fears.
He was honoured and awarded the Guinness certificate in the booth of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood at the exhibition, amidst the overwhelming joy of his family members, represented by his sister, father, mother, and his relatives. Al-Muhairi expressed his great happiness at obtaining the Guinness certificate.