- Russia has blacklisted 398 members of Congress in a new wave of “mirror” sanctions.
- Moscow says it’s reciprocating US sanctions made last month against its lower house of parliament.
- The “stop list” encompasses members across both sides of the aisle and even critics of Ukraine.
Russia announced sanctions on Wednesday against 398 members of the US Congress to “mirror” the Biden administration’s sanctions last month on the State Duma.
“These persons, including the leadership and chairmen of the committees of the lower house of the US Congress, are included in the Russian “stop list” on an ongoing basis,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement said that the new measures bar blacklisted members of Congress from entering Russia.
It said the list was created on “the basis of reciprocity,” referring to when the US Treasury Department sanctioned 328 members of Russia’s lower house of parliament on March 24 as retaliation against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Several prominent members and leaders of the House, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, were not included in Russia’s list on Wednesday as they were already blacklisted, the statement added.
Among the new US lawmakers sanctioned by Russia are Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, two Congress members who publicly criticized Ukraine in the face of the House’s overwhelming support for Kyiv.
Greene had suggested that Ukraine bore responsibility for Russia’s invasion because it had agitated Moscow, calling it “poking the bear” on right-wing media show BKP Politics. Meanwhile, Cawthorn had called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “a thug” and the Ukrainian government “incredibly evil.”
Other affected House representatives include Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Rep. Matt Gaetz, both of whom voted against a March 17 resolution to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and its ally Belarus.
Boebert had said that Congress was “focusing on distractions abroad and not our own challenges brought on by Joe Biden at home,” according to Colorado Newsline.
Affected members of Congress appear to have taken news of the sanctions in stride. “This is a badge of honor,” GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa tweeted. “But it is laughable that Putin thinks these sanctions will even slightly deter our efforts to defeat him and support the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.”
In another example, Democrat Rep. Adriano Espaillat for New York tweeted: “My night couldn’t have ended any better. Honored to make the cut, and proud to stand with the Ukrainian people — always.”