‘Russophobic’ Mark Zuckerberg and 28 others banned from Russia
Russia barred entry to Meta Platform’s Mark Zuckerberg and 28 other Americans, a symbolic retaliation for US sanctions against its top officials and business figures.
The latest Russian “stop list” includes US Vice-President Kamala Harris alongside White House, Pentagon and state department officials and the ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The “top officials, executives, experts and journalists who shape the Russophobic agenda, as well as the spouses of a number of high-ranking officials” are being barred from Russia in response to US sanctions, the ministry said.
In March, in an accelerating crackdown on the media and internet aimed at controlling information on its invasion of Ukraine, Russia banned Meta’s Facebook and Instagram services, calling them “extremist” organisations. The government has threatened to bar YouTube.
The extremist label capped a year of pressure on US technology companies as regulators levied fines and slowed access in an effort to force the firms to allow the government to determine what is acceptable content.
Russia in March passed a new law punishing the intentional spreading of what authorities deem “fake” news with as much as 15 years in prison. The Kremlin’s propaganda efforts have been aimed at minimising the scale of the war in Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation.”
Russia also announced retaliatory sanctions on Canadian government officials and journalists Thursday, including central bank governor Tiff Macklem, just days after Canada sanctioned his Russian counterpart, Elvira Nabiullina.
The reprisals covered senior government and military officials such as the prime minister’s chief of staff. But Moscow also listed the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa, an assortment of newspaper columnists, and the head of Canada’s public broadcaster.
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