Moscow on Wednesday (30 December) expanded a list of UK officials banned from entering Russia in a tit-for-tat response to British sanctions imposed over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that in response to “unconstructive and unfriendly” UK penalties it had “decided to expand the number of British citizens who are denied entry to our country.”
In October the British government announced it would follow the European Union in adopting sanctions targeting Russian officials over the attack on Navalny with the Novichok nerve agent.
The UK penalties included entry bans and asset freezes on six Russian officials, including the head of the Federal Security Services (FSB).
Moscow earlier this month hit EU countries with reciprocal sanctions in response to the bloc’s measures.
The EU sanctions for Navalny’s poisoning came as part of a package that also punished Russia for what Brussels says is Moscow’s destabilising role in Libya.
Navalny was poisoned in August during a trip to Siberia ahead of local elections. He was transferred to Germany and medical experts from several Western countries concluded he was poisoned with the Soviet-designed toxin.
Russia on Tuesday also hit German officials with entry bans after the EU and UK sanctioned several Russian intelligence officers for hacks on the German parliament’s computer network in 2015.