Actors Sean Penn and Ben Stiller have been officially and permanently banned from entering Russia, along with 23 other “members of the US Congress, high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures.”
The personal sanctions were announced in a statement by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to what it calls “the ever-expanding personal sanctions by the G. Biden Administration against Russian citizens.” The sanctions also target Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Thea Kendler, as well as several other officials in the department of trade.
Penn had traveled to Ukraine to make a documentary for Vice as Russia was planning its invasion of the sovereign nation. In February, he issued the following statement: “Already a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken, and if he doesn’t relent, I believe Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humankind. President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle. Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams. If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.”
Stiller traveled to Ukraine in June as part of the UN Refugee Agency to meet people “who have been impacted by the war” and hear “how it’s changed their lives.” Stiller said as part of a video message posted by the UN Refugee Agency that “war and violence are devastating people all over the world. Nobody chooses to flee their home. Seeking safety is a right, and it needs to be upheld for every person.”