Russia has said on Thursday that it has banned 121 Australian citizens, including top journalists and defense officials, from entering, accusing them of being part of a “Russophobic agenda”.
Among the sanctioned individuals were journalists from Australia’s ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald, Sky News and Nine Network, as well as businesspeople and various defense officials.
Peter Malinauskas, the premier of South Australia; the mining magnate Gina Rinehart; and the armed forces chief, Gen Angus Campbell, were all included on the list, as were prominent TV personalities Liz Hayes, Stan Grant and Andrew Bolt.
In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said those on the blacklist were banned indefinitely, and that more could be added in response to new sanctions from Canberra.
Russia announced a similar move against dozens of British journalists on Tuesday, in what Moscow said was a response to western sanctions and the “spreading of false information about Russia”.
Since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in February, western countries including Australia have imposed a barrage of sanctions intended to weaken Russia’s economy and force it to withdraw, and have supplied billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Ukraine.