Russia’s foreign ministry approves 398 of 435 members of the United States House of Representatives, Moscow-backed state media reported Wednesday.
The Kremlin’s latest anti-US move comes after it criticized US President Joe Biden’s comments, in which he labeled Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “genocide” as “unacceptable”.
“We categorically disagree and consider any attempt to distort the situation in this way unacceptable,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a conference call with reporters, according to Reuters.
He continued: “It is hardly acceptable to the President of the United States, a country that has committed well-known deeds in modern and recent history.”
Wednesday’s announcement of the sanctions is in direct retaliation for the Biden government imposing sanctions on 328 members of the Putin-influenced parliament known as the State Duma.
The 398 US legislators are specific members of the United States House of Representatives, including lower house leaders and committee chairs.
Republican representatives Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the vocal minorities in Congress who criticized Ukraine on points eerily similar to the Kremlin’s, are also on the “stop list.”
A list of 398 sanctioned lawmakers was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website with a statement that committee chairmen and house leaders are also included.
Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul and Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr are among those who are not committee chairs nor the House leadership named on the list, although McCaul could be considered the highest-ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee under sanctions.
The 398 lawmakers sanctioned by the Kremlin on Wednesday all serve in the House of Representatives. Volodymyr Zelensky reviewers Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn were also on the list
“Along with other US lawmakers previously barred from entering Russia (such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), all US congressmen are being ‘listed’ on a reciprocal basis,” the TASS News statement said. agency. †
Democrat Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania quipped on Twitter, “Well, there go my spring break plans!”
‘Oh no! Lol,” Colorado Republican Representative Doug Lamborn wrote on the platform. His fellow GOP legislator, Rep. John Curtis of Utah, said it was “an honor to be on this list.”
It is reportedly in retaliation for US sanctions against the Russian State Duma, but comes a day after Biden called Vladimir Putin’s war a “genocide.”
The Treasury Department lifted economic restrictions on the State Duma by the start of Biden’s trip to Europe in late March to meet Western allies about the situation in Ukraine.
Also on Wednesday, Biden approved $800 million in new arms aid for Kiev’s armed forces after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia has intensified its focus on Ukraine’s eastern regions in recent days.
Western intelligence agencies had indicated that Moscow planned to take Kiev, “behead” its government and instill pro-Putin leadership in a lightning offensive that began on February 24. The alleged plan appears to have been thwarted as Russian troops withdraw from the capital’s suburbs.
The Kremlin spokesman’s recollection of the US’s own “acts” echoes Russian accusations of “war crimes” in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
China recently reiterated the same claims as Putin and his troops face mounting charges of war crimes of their own as atrocities allegedly committed in Bucha and other areas previously occupied by Russian forces come to light as they retreat.
Images of civilians lying dead in the street with their hands tied behind their backs, piles of burned and charred naked bodies and horrific stories of survivors of rape and torture have prompted Western leaders to bolster statements that Putin is a war criminal.
A view of a destroyed flat on April 13, 2022 in Borodianka, Ukraine. Rescue workers are still clearing debris from the destroyed residential area after the withdrawal of Russian troops during their invasion of Ukraine
A woman sits in front of a residential building damaged during the Russian invasion on a rainy day in the southern port city of Mariupol on April 13. Ukrainian officials said they are investigating reports of a chemical attack on their troops there
Mariupol has been besieged by Russia for weeks, with residents reportedly trying to survive on dwindling food and water supplies. Many have reportedly already starved to death, according to Kyiv
It has also given way to accusations of genocide, which Biden recently confirmed in comments to reporters.
Speaking to an event in Iowa while blaming Putin’s price hike on rising inflation, Biden said, “Your family budget, your ability to fill your tank — none of it should depend on whether a dictator declares war and a half. commit genocide. a world away.’
The president stuck to his comments when journalists asked for them later in the day.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that Putin is trying to wipe out the idea of Ukraine,” Biden told the press before boarding Air Force One.
“The evidence is mounting. It looks different from last week. More evidence is coming out, literally, of the terrible things the Russians have done in Ukraine, and we are only going to learn more and more about the devastation.”
The president added that it would ultimately be up to the legal definition as decided by human rights lawyers in the West, but whether he thought it was genocide said “it certainly seems so to me.”
Zelensky praised Biden after sticking to his comments, writing on Twitter that he was ‘grateful’ for US help
The White House press secretary defended Biden’s comments at her daily press conference on Wednesday, claiming, “He is the President of the United States and the leader of the free world, he can express his views at any time.”
On Tuesday, Zelensky said Biden, who stands by his genocide charges, reflects the “true words of a true leader.”
Putin also issued his own chilling statement that day, claiming that peace negotiations between his country and Ukraine had reached a “dead end.”
Ukrainian officials accused Russia of using chemical weapons for the first time in this conflict and claimed Moscow dropped a toxic substance on Kiev’s troops.
Through it all, Russia has denied the majority of reported setbacks, including an apparent loss in the battle for Kiev.
Putin insisted on Tuesday that the mission has always focused on eastern Ukraine to “ensure Russia’s own security” by helping pro-Russian rebels there.
He again referred to the war as a “military special operation” and vowed that it would “last until the full completion and fulfillment of the assigned tasks.”