Russian authorities have barred Morgan Freeman, a well-known Hollywood actor, and 962 other prominent Americans from entering the European country.
Other famous names on the travel restriction list, according to Al Jazeera, include US President Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin.
The travel ban, which is ostensibly symbolic, follows tense relations between Russia and the West following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Russia’s decision to restrict Americans from visiting the European country came in response to Washington’s announcement of similar penalties. The list was revealed by the Russian foreign ministry 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.