Authorities in Russia have banned famous Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman as well as 962 leading Americans from entering the European nation. According to Al Jazeera, other notable names on the travel ban list include US President Joe Biden, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin.
The travel ban, which is said to be mainly symbolic, comes in the wake of volatile relations between Russia and the West after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February. Russia’s move to bar the American individuals from entering the European country was also in retaliation for Washington announcing similar sanctions. The Russian foreign ministry released the list on Saturday.
Russian authorities allege Freeman, 84, recorded a video in 2017 where he accused Moscow of scheming against the United States.
“The Russian counter-sanctions are necessary and aim to constrain the US which is trying to impose a neocolonial ‘world order’ on the rest of the planet … to change its position and recognise new geopolitical realities,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
And though Moscow also made mention of the contrast between American citizens and authorities allegedly “inciting Russophobia”, it said it would welcome “honest dialogue.”
The Russian foreign ministry also announced travel bans for 26 more notable Canadians, Al Jazeera reported. Among the individuals include the prime minister’s wife, Sophie Trudeau. Moscow announced the new travel ban list four days after authorities in Canada introduced a bill seeking to ban President Vladimir Putin and around 1,000 Russian government and military officials from entering the country.