Russia Bans Biden Family Members, Officials, and Others in Retaliatory Sanctions

Russia on Tuesday banned U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and her daughter from entering the country in retaliation for the growing number of U.S. sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the country’s foreign ministry announced.

In total, 25 U.S. citizens were included in the round of retaliatory Russian sanctions, including academics, U.S. government officials, and other individuals.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the family of U.S. President Joe Biden was banned “in response to the constantly expanding U.S. sanctions against Russian politicians and public figures.”

In addition to the president’s family members, six senators were on the stop list, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

The senators were accused of “formulating the Russophobic” policies of the United States, along with “members of the so-called McFaul-Yermak International Expert Group, which drafts recommendations concerning anti-Russia restrictions.”

When asked about the sanctions by reporters during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Madrid, where the president will attend the NATO summit, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan called them “cynical.”

“I have no reaction to that other than it just goes to show you that the Russian capacity for these kinds of cynical moves is basically bottomless, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us that they would do something like this,” Sullivan said.

The United States has sought to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine with personal and economic sanctions, including cutting off Russian oil and gas.

Sanctioned CEO ‘Proud’

Among the individuals banned in Russia’s round of sanctions is James Hodson, the CEO and cofounder of an organization that provides relief to Ukrainians on the ground in areas under attack through the use of technology platforms.

“I am proud to have been recognized by the Russian Federation for the work that myself and my colleagues have been doing to help Ukraine to defend its democracy from a terrorist-led war of endless rotting Soviet-era ammunition, superficial lies, and medieval-colonial ideology,” he told The Epoch Times in an email.

One of the applications created by Hodson’s AI for Good Foundation is Svidok (“witness” in Ukrainian), which is used to gather evidence of war crimes and to preserve and share Ukrainians’ experiences.

The other is LifeForce, “a real-time platform that ensures people find what they need, when they need it (for food, basic goods, medicine, health care, shelter, transportation, and emergency response), while making it practically infeasible for the Russian military to gather information on civilian targets, and providing the government with detailed information on supply and demand dynamics in areas under siege,” Hodson said.

Hodson is also part of a working group that advises on the recovery of Ukraine’s economy after the conflict and participates in the Yermak-McFaul International Working Group on Russian Sanctions.

From The Epoch Times