Russia Bans Biden, Harris, Morgan Freeman and Nearly 1,000 Americans — But Not Trump

·4 min read
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Sergei Guneyev/TASS/Getty Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russia permanently barred 963 Americans including politicians, celebrities, and tech executives from entering the country in response U.S. sanctions imposed on the country following its invasion of Ukraine in February.

On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced an updated list of Americans who are no longer permitted into Russia including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and actor Morgan Freeman, according to the Washington Post.

However, former President Donald Trump, who has touted his "close relationship" with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was notably absent from the list. Barack Obama and George W. Bush were also not included, the outlet reported.

"We emphasize that the hostile actions taken by Washington, which boomerang against the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff," the ministry said in a statement, via USA Today.

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"Russian counter-sanctions are forced and aimed at forcing the ruling American regime, which is trying to impose a neo-colonial 'rules-based world order' on the rest of the world, to change its behavior, recognizing new geopolitical realities," the statement continued.

Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — who appeared on Saturday's list — were previously banned from the country in March. Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and the president's son Hunter Biden are also included on the new list, The Washington Post reports.

Over 230 Congressional members including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were also named. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul did not appear on the list, according to the outlet, according to USA Today.

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were also banned, the outlet reports.

Former Senators John McCain, Harry M. Reid, and Orrin G. Hatch — who are all deceased — were also barred from the country.

In addition to lawmakers, Zuckerberg, Microsoft President Brad Smith, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, The New Yorker's Susan Glasser, New York Times' Bret Stephens and CNN's Bianna Golodryga were listed, according to The Washington Post.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Freeman was barred because in a September 2017 video, he accused "Russia of conspiring against the United States and calling for a fight against our country," according to USA Today.

In response to the list, several banned Americans posted on social media, including Psaki.

"I guess we will have to cancel our August family trip to Moscow …" she joked on Twitter.

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Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades.

Details of the fighting change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. Millions of Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says.

"You don't know where to go, where to run, who you have to call. This is just panic," Liliya Marynchak, a 45-year-old teacher in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, told PEOPLE of the moment her city was bombed — one of numerous accounts of bombardment by the Russians.

The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.

With NATO forces massing in the region around Ukraine, various countries have also pledged aid or military support to the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back.

Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend.

"Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding, "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness."

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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