Russia on Thursday expanded an entry ban on US officials to include US Vice-President Kamala Harris and 28 other American officials, businesspeople and journalists.
The sanctions list, published by the Russian foreign ministry, included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, among others.
“These individuals are denied entry into the Russian Federation indefinitely,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces not to storm the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol but to block it “so that not even a fly comes through.”
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin on Thursday that the sprawling Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian forces were holed up was “securely blocked” while the rest of the city was “liberated,” which Putin hailed as “success.”
Leaving the plant in Ukrainian hands, however, robs the Russians of the ability to declare complete victory in Mariupol. The city’s capture has both strategic and symbolic importance.