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Russia bans 287 British MPs in tit-for-tat move over Ukraine

British PM Boris Johnson makes a statement on situation in Ukraine, in the House of Commons, London, UK, February 22, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has banned the entry of 287 members of the British parliament in response to the sanctions imposed on Russian lawmakers over Moscow’s military offensive against Ukraine.

"In response to the decision taken by the British government on March 11 this year to add 386 deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the sanctions list, personal restrictions are imposed on 287 members of the House of Commons of the British Parliament on the basis of reciprocity," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said the list was made up of the MPs who had played "the most active part" in drawing up anti-Russian sanctions and contributed to the "groundless whipping up of Russophobic hysteria in the UK."

Among those blacklisted are Speaker Lindsay Hoyle as well as cabinet members, including Minister for Brexit Jacob Rees-Mogg and Environment Secretary George Eustice. The list also includes Labour MPs, among them Diane Abbott, a close ally of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn. One former lawmaker, Dominic Grieve, appears twice.

The UK House of Commons has a total of 650 members.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has previously been singled out by the Kremlin as "the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian," told parliament that those included in the list "should regard it as a badge of honor."

"What we will do is keep up our robust and principled support for the Ukrainian people, and their right to protect their lives, their families, and to defend themselves. That is what this country is doing, and that has the overwhelming support, I think, of the whole House," he said.

On April 16, Russia had banned Johnson as well as Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, and several other top UK officials from entering the country. Moscow said at the time that the decision had been made in retaliation for the UK government's "hostile" stance on the war in Ukraine.

This week, Moscow also warned London of a "proportional response" if it continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia. The warning came after UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said it was entirely legitimate for Ukraine to hunt targets in the depths of Russia to disrupt logistics and supply lines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the military offensive against Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow.

Canadian MPs vote to label Russia's acts in Ukraine as 'genocide'

Meanwhile, Canadian lawmakers have voted unanimously to call Russia's activities in Ukraine "genocide," as the military offensive entered into a third month.

The vote was triggered on Wednesday after NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson presented a motion asking that the Canadian House of Commons recognize that "the Russian Federation is committing acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people."

Members of parliament said there was "clear and ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity" being committed by Moscow.

The motion said those crimes include, among other offenses, mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape.

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was "absolutely right" for more and more people to describe Russia's actions in Ukraine as genocide.

His comments came a day after US President Joe Biden used the term in reference to Russia's activities in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians during the offensive.

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