Russia on Wednesday banned 287 British members of parliament from entering the country and accused them of fuelling “Russophobic hysteria” in Britain, drawing a defiant response from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Britain has, alongside allies, imposed far-reaching sanctions against Moscow’s wealthy oligarchs and political elites, including President Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s foreign ministry said the sanctions on members of the House of Commons were in response to Britain imposing similar restrictions on 386 members of its own lower house of parliament on March 11.
“These persons… took the most active part in the establishment of anti-Russian sanctions instruments in London, and contribute to the groundless whipping up of Russophobic hysteria in the UK,” a foreign ministry statement said.
The list of 287 names included current and former ministers as well as several people who no longer serve as members of parliament. One former lawmaker, Dominic Grieve, appears twice.
“All those 287 should regard it as a badge of honour,” Johnson, who was himself banned from Russia on April 16, told parliament.
The Kremlin has previously singled out Johnson as “the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian” and this week warned Britain of a “proportional response” if it continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets in Russia.
Member of parliament Chris Bryant, a long-time critic of Russia, raised a point of order in the debating chamber to complain: “I’m absolutely distressed that I’m not on the list.”