The Kremlin snapped back at actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn on Monday, banning the vocal critics of Russia’s war in Ukraine from entering the country along with 23 others — the latest in the superpower sanction squabbles since the war began in February.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the ban a reaction to “the hostile actions of the US government, which continue to follow a Russophobic course,” as well as American sanctions on Russian citizens.
Penn, who traveled to Ukraine to film a documentary as the war started, said in April he’d considered taking up arms against Moscow.
Stiller, for his part, visited Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in his capacity as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations.
While there, the ‘Zoolander’ star called on other nations to take in and assist Ukrainians fleeing the violence.
“Seeking safety is a right, and it needs to be upheld for every person,” he said in a video message recorded in Ukraine.
The actors joined US Sens. Mark Kelly, Kevin Kramer, Michael Rounds, Kyrsten Sinema, Rick Scott and Pat Toomey on the sanction list, along with various Biden administration officials and business leaders.
The tit-for-tat has been ongoing since early in the war, when Western powers sanctioned Russian power brokers and oligarchs over Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor.
In Russia’s last round of personnel penalties, it froze the assets of President Biden, First Son Hunter Biden, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others.