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Russia sanctions 398 members of Congress

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Kremlin/Released)
April 13, 2022

The Russian government added 398 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to a sanctions blacklist on Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced the list of sanctioned representatives. The new Russian sanctions are in direct response to a March 24 round of U.S. sanctions ordered by President Joe Biden, targeting 328 members of the Russia’s legislative State Duma.

“The individuals in question, including top officials and committee chairpersons in the lower house of the US Congress, have been blacklisted by Russia permanently,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. “Together with other incumbent lawmakers, who, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, were barred from entering Russia earlier, all members of the US Congress have been blacklisted on the basis of reciprocity.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) were not included on this latest sanctions list from Russia. The new sanctions list also excluded Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Andy Barr (R-KY).

“With ongoing U.S. sanctions, further announcements of Russian countermeasures are planned in the near future, involving an increase in the number of people on the ‘stop list’ and other retaliatory steps,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

In addition to the 398 U.S. representatives, Russia also announced sanctions against an additional 87 Canadian Senators, Axios reported.

Russia has already engaged in other “mirror” sanctions of existing U.S. sanctions. On Feb. 25, the day after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration directly sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Russia responded on March 15 by sanctioning President Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Russia also sanctioned Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Duleep Singh, Director of the Agency for International Development Samantha Powers, First Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Adewale Adeyemo and President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank Reta Joe Lewis.

Psaki responded to Russia’s March 15 sanctions by saying, “None of us are planning tourist trips to Russia and none of us have bank accounts that we won’t be able to access, so we will forge ahead.”

Last week, the Biden administration personally sanctioned Putin’s two daughters — Maria Vorontsova (also known as Maria Putina) and Katerina Tikhonova — and Lavrov’s wife.

While Bloomberg reported the sanctions against Putin’s daughters were likely symbolic, a senior Biden administration official said the U.S. has reason to believe Putin and other top Russian officials often hide their assets with their family members, who then place those assets in U.S. financial systems and financial systems in other countries of the world.

“So that’s why the coordinated effort to freeze their assets and seize their physical luxury goods, their cars, their yachts, their homes, et cetera,” the senior administration official said. “That’s why it’s so important that we act together.”