The diplomatic chasm between Russia and the West deepened further Saturday, as Moscow barred British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a dozen other top UK officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions.
The ministry’s statement cited “unprecedented hostile actions of the British government, expressed, in particular, in the imposition of sanctions against top officials” in Russia.
“The Russophobic course of action of the British authorities, whose main goal is to stir up negative attitude toward our country, curtailing of bilateral ties in almost all areas are detrimental to the well-being and interests of the residents of Britain. Any sanctions attack will inevitably backfire on their initiators and receive a decisive rebuff,” the statement said.
Among the others on the banned list are Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, former Prime Minister Theresa May and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Last Saturday Boris Johnson paid a visit to Kyivone of several European politicians to go to the Ukrainian capital to meet President Zelenskyy and show solidarity with Ukraine.
The British government promised to supply high-grade weapons worth €120 million, including anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
Johnson also confirmed further economic support, guaranteeing an additional €550 million in World Bank lending to Ukraine, taking Britain’s total loan guarantee to up to €1.1 billion.
In mid-March Russia announced a similar travel ban on US President Joe Biden and other US officials. Western countries including the US, the UK and the EU have targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials with sanctions.
On Friday evening, the ministry announced the expulsion of 18 European Union diplomats from Moscow, in retaliation for the bloc’s declaring 19 diplomats from the Russian mission to the EU and to the European Atomic Energy Community persona non-grata.
The European Union said the expulsions were groundless, and that EU diplomats targeted were working in the framework of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.