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Russia slaps entry bans on 200 US nationals

View of the Russian foreign ministry's building in Moscow

Russia has banned as many as 200 American nationals from entering the country in reaction to the sanctions that Washington has imposed on Moscow over the latter's ongoing war in Ukraine.

The Russian foreign ministry announced the entry bans on Friday. It identified some of the affected individuals as a sister and two brothers of US President Joe Biden and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as well as US senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Others included heads of companies and pundits such as US writer and Russia expert Anne Applebaum, besides Matthew Kaminski, editor-in-chief of the American news and analysis website Politico and Paul Pelosi, husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The individuals, the ministry said, had been "involved in the promotion of the Russophobic campaign and support for the regime in Kiev."

Washington and its Western allies have brought Russia under a litany of punitive measures over the February-present military campaign in neighboring Ukraine.

The Kremlin says it launched the operation in order to defend the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk against persecution by Kiev.

Back in 2014, the two republics broke away from Ukraine, refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government there that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

Ever since its launch, the war has spread across more eastern Ukrainian regions as well as areas lying in the south of the ex-Soviet republic.

In retaliation against the American sanctions, Russia has already barred over 1,000 US citizens from entering the Russian Federation, including Hollywood actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn.

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