President Joe Biden’s family is persona non grata in Moscow.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said it added 25 people to the list of Americans banned from entering Russia “as a response to the ever-expanding U.S. sanctions against Russian political and public figures.” Included are first lady Jill Biden and the couple’s daughter Ashley. The president was included on a previous list.
The latest list also includes four senators the ministry blames for “the formation of the Russophobic course” in Congress. They are Republicans Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins and Ben Sasse and Democrat Kirstin Gillibrand.
“It just goes to show you that the Russian capacity for these kinds of cynical moves is basically bottomless,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said. “So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us that they would do something like this.”
The U.S. and other countries have hit numerous Russian oligarchs with sanctions that have led to seizure of massive yachts and other property.
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►Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the European Union had reduced its dependence on Russian gas from 40% to 25% and continues to invest in renewable energy.
A Russian court has rejected an appeal by imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
►16 Ukrainian servicemen, including 2 officers, and one civilian, were released in a prisoner exchange. Five were wounded, Ukraine authorities said. The number of Russians released was not immediately revealed.
Kherson Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev has been abducted by Russian forces that occupy the southern city of almost 300,000, a mayoral adviser said. Halyna Liashevska said the mayor had remained in the city after the Russian swept in out of a sense of duty to his constituents. Russian forces have routinely abducted pro-Ukrainian activists and other public figures in the cities it overruns. Kolykhaiev was escorted out of his office in handcuffs, Liashevska said.
Control of the region gives Russia a crucial “land bridge” connecting Russia to Crimea, which Russia took from Ukraine in 2014. Separatists have called for a referendum aimed at leaving Ukraine to become a part of Russia.
The death toll rose to at least 18 Tuesday from a missile strike on a shopping mall Monday that wounded scores of shoppers. Kirill Timoshenko, spokesman for the Office of the President, said at least 20 had died while local officials in the central city of Kremenchuk said at least 18 were killed. At least 40 people were missing as rescue workers searched through the rubble. Timoshenko told Ukraine news media that at least 59 people were injured, 25 of them requiring hospitalization.
More than 1,000 people were at the mall when the missile hit, authorities say. The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting in New York on Tuesday to discuss the attack. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said warplanes fired missiles at a nearby depot containing Western weapons, causing powerful blasts that set the mall on fire. Ukraine officials say the mall itself was hit by at least one missile.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Source: GANNETT Syndication Service