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Sanctions

Russia bans Ben Stiller, Sean Penn from country for their Ukraine support

The actors are banned from entering Russia “on a permanent basis”, the Russian foreign ministry said.

RUSSIA ANNOUNCED IT has blacklisted 25 US citizens including Hollywood actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn, in response to sanctions from the United States.

Western countries have slapped Russia with a slew of unprecedented sanctions over its offensive in pro-Western Ukraine.

Russia has already barred over a thousand US citizens from entering the country.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement the new names were added in response to the “ever-expanding” US sanctions “against Russian citizens”.

Apart from Stiller and Penn, who have both expressed support for Ukraine and met with its president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in June, the list also includes several US politicians, lobbyists and industrialists.

They are banned from entering Russia “on a permanent basis”, the ministry said.

“The hostile actions of US authorities, which continue to follow a Russophobic course, destroying bilateral ties and escalating confrontation between Russia and the United States, will continue to be resolutely rebuffed,” the ministry said.

In June Stiller told AFP  while travelling from Ukraine to Poland that, “the stories of the people who experienced the first few days of this war was very affecting”.

The 56-year-old actor-director visited Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, which was particularly hard-hit in the early stages of the Russian invasion.

“To see the physical destruction of those neighbourhoods, it’s really massive, and it’s impossible not to be affected by that,” Stiller said.

“There was one very young man who… talked about it like something out of a horror film, just being hit by these missiles, not knowing if he should stay or run.

“To see how traumatised he was – he felt his life had been changed forever. It’s really tough when you hear a young person say that, and you realise the effects of war are not always visible.”

When Stiller met with Zelenskyy he told him: “You’re my hero.”

“What you’ve done, the way that you’ve rallied the country, the world, it’s really inspiring,” he said.

In March Penn signed an agreement for his CORE Foundation non-profit to provide help to Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Under the deal between CORE, which he co-founded, and the municipality of Krakow, the foundation will open an office in the historic southern Polish city and provide educational activities and also convert unoccupied premises to accommodate around 50 refugees, the Polish agency PAP said in a report.

Penn was in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in late February when the Russian invasion began, to shoot a documentary, the Ukrainian president’s office said at the time.

The double Oscar-winner was photographed attending a government news conference in Kyiv, and could be seen meeting with Zelenskyy in a video posted to the Ukrainian president’s official Instagram account.

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