Obama, Raffensperger among 500 Americans banned from going to Russia
In response to a new round of U.S. sanctions, Russia announced Friday that it was banning 500 Americans from entering the country, including former President Barack Obama and comedian Stephen Colbert.
The list released by the Foreign Ministry did not specify complaints against each individual. But the ministry said the offenses included spreading Russophobia, supplying Ukraine with arms, and officials “who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called ‘storm of the Capitol.’”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released a statement Saturday saying his name was among those included on Russia's list.
“While I was previously unaware of my anti-Russian activities, I accept the verdict of Russia, whose commitment to truth, justice and the rule of law speaks for itself,” Raffensperger stated in the press release. “I can see where my commitment to free, fair and accurate elections, my tendency to speak truth to power and strong stance against war crimes would offend President Putin’s sensibilities. I accept that I’m not their cup of Russian tea.”
“My inclusion on this list is deserved, and I appreciate them thinking of me,” he said.
The ban also includes 45 members of the U.S. House, Sens. J.D. Vance, Katie Britt and Eric Schmitt, and former ambassadors to Russia John Tefft and Jon Huntsman.
The ministry said it had also denied a U.S. request for consular access to Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested in late March and charged with espionage. The ministry said that was in response to the United States denying visas to Russian journalists who wanted to cover Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the United Nations last month.
The latest sanctions aimed at Russia include tighter restrictions on already-sanctioned people and companies involved in the war effort. The financial penalties have been primarily focused on sanctions evaders connected to technology procurement for the Kremlin.