Moscow bans ‘500 Americans’ from Russia including CNN journalists

By Jonny Hallam and Tara John, CNN

Former United States President Barack Obama, late night television host Stephen Colbert, and CNN’s Erin Burnett are some of the “500 Americans” Russia has banned from entering the country.

Russia on Friday announced it was banning “500 Americans,” many prominent figures of US executive power, from entering the country “in a response to the regularly anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the Joe Biden administration,” according to a statement from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The list includes Obama, former US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, several US senators and the next expected chairman of the joint chiefs Charles Q. Brown Jr.

The rambling list of names also includes American late night TV hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Colbert, and Seth Meyers.

The statement also said: “The attached ‘list-500’ also includes those in government and law enforcement agencies who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called Storming the Capitol.” On January 6, 2021, scores of supporters of former US President Donald Trump sought to stop Biden’s certification as president and attacked the US Capitol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to question the arrest of the rioters a few months later, saying the people had come to Congress “with political demands,” Reuters reported.

Friday’s list also includes CNN Anchor Erin Burnett and is an update of a previously published longer list of sanctioned individuals that includes CNN’s Chief International Security Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, Senior Global Affairs Analyst Bianna Golodryga and CNN contributor Timothy Naftali.

While the list was labelled, “500 Americans,” Paton Walsh is a British citizen.

The ministry justified the bans in a statement on its website that read: “It is high time for Washington to learn that not a single hostile attack against Russia will go without a strong reaction.”

It did not specify complaints against each individual or explain what the sanctions would mean beyond a ban from entering the county.

In addition, the ministry said it is continuing to deny a US embassy request for consular access to American journalist Evan Gershkovich “due to the failure to issue visas to Russian journalists from the Lavrov pool,” in apparent reference to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s trip to the United States in April.

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