By Erik Wasson - 03/20/14 11:58 AM EDT
Russia on Thursday issued visa bans on Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top congressional and administration officials in retaliation for U.S. sanctions on Moscow.
A total of nine U.S. officials will be denied entry into the Russian Federation under the Kremlin's action.
Russia made the move after President Obama announced new sanctions on Thursday in response to Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. The U.S. sanctions target 20 Russian officials and businessman and effectively freeze Bank Rossiya, Russia's 17th largest bank and the one used by high officials, from any transactions in the dollar.
Boehner welcomed the move.
“The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
Menendez said that “if standing up for the Ukrainian people, their freedom, their hard earned democracy, and sovereignty means I'm sanctioned by Putin, so be it."
Coats was sarcastic in his response to the visa ban.
“While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list," he said.
Landrieu, in her own statement on being sanctioned, said it will not deter her efforts to expand U.S. gas exports, which would serve to weaken Russia's economic influence.