Report: Russia targets more US officials with visa ban over Ukraine

 

Russia expanded its retaliatory visa bans to include about a dozen more U.S. officials, including senators, congressmen and even a handful of President Obama's campaign bundlers, according to a Friday report.

The Daily Beast reported the expanded list comes after the United States issued its third round of sanctions against Russian officials and businesses in the country earlier this week due to its failure to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

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Though the names remain undisclosed, the Beast, citing diplomatic sources, said the Obama bundlers were picked with a focus on ties to the gay and lesbian community. The United States has continuously criticized Russia for its restrictive laws targeting the gay community, especially leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi earlier this year. 

Most U.S. officials who received visa bans to Russia in March said they took pride in being named to the list, which included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). 

“The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel at the time. 

Other officials on the March list were deputy national security adviser for international economics Caroline Atkinson, senior White House adviser Daniel Pfeiffer, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.).