MOSCOW – Russia slapped a travel ban Thursday on nine U.S. lawmakers and officials — the first retaliation against the United States for its sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea.
The Russian Foreign Ministry made the move minutes after President Barack Obama announced a new round of sanctions. The ministry said “the use of sanctions is a double-edged sword that will boomerang against the United States.”
A look at Obama’s advisers and the U.S. lawmakers targeted by Russian sanctions:
— Caroline Atkinson, a deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.
— Daniel Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama.
— Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser.
These three officials conceivably played a role in crafting the specific sanctions. The White House is aware of their inclusion on Russia’s sanctions list but declined comment.
— John Boehner, a Republican congressman from Ohio, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 2nd in the line of succession for the presidency. Boehner has supported Obama’s pursuit of sanctions to respond to “Russian aggression” and has urged the administration to speed up the permit process to increase U.S. natural gas exports to counter Putin. “The speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” his spokesman said.
— Harry Reid, a Democratic senator from Nevada who runs the U.S. Senate, sets the legislative agenda.
— John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona who lost the 2008 presidential race to Obama. McCain has called for stronger punitive measures against Russia, calling Obama’s responses timid. “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen. Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea,” he said. McCain had travelled to Ukraine to support the protesters who forced President Viktor Yanukovych to flee to Russia last month.
— Robert Menendez, a Democratic senator from New Jersey who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez criticized Putin’s annexation of Crimea as a “reckless and unacceptable act that contravenes all international norms and laws” and said it called for a swift response from the U.S., Europe and other allies. Menendez tweeted: “If standing up for democracy and sovereignty in Ukraine means I’m sanctioned by Putin, I’ll take it.”
— Mary Landrieu, a Democratic senator from Louisiana who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Landrieu, who is seeking re-election this year to a fourth term, had strongly criticized the Russian government after it ended American adoptions of Russian children.
— Dan Coats, a Republican senator from Indiana and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He co-sponsored a resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously, that condemned the Russian military seizure of Ukraine and called on Obama to “use all appropriate economic elements of U.S. national power” in co-ordination with allies to protect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and economic integrity. Coats tweeted Thursday: “While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honoured to be on this list.”