Film and TV

Russia bans Sean Penn and Ben Stiller

In a wave of new sanctions, Russia has targeted the two actors and permanently banned them from entering the country.

The Russian government has permanently banned 25 more US citizens from entering the country, including actors, US Congress members, and other high-ranking officials. 

Both Ben Stiller and Sean Penn have shown strong support for Ukraine, amid the country’s ongoing war with Russia. Their high profile visits to Ukraine during this year made global news. 

Ben Stiller ukraine
Credit: Instagram

Ben Stiller, who is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), met with Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. The actor shared details of his visit via Instagram: “I’m meeting people who’ve been impacted by the war and hearing how it’s changed their lives. 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.”

Sean Penn visited with local journalists, Ukrainian officials, and the military in Kyiv, Ukraine in February to film a documentary about the invasion. An official statement released by the Office of the President of Ukraine stated at the time: “The director specifically came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.”

“Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.” The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website states that the sanctions are a response to US sanctions against Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Tit for Tat, or something like that.

A translation of the official statement reads: “In response to the ever-expanding personal sanctions on Russian citizens by Joe Biden’s administration, a permanent ban to enter the Russian Federation has been imposed on another group of US Congress members, high-ranking officials, members of the business and expert community and cultural figures.”

Other figures on the banned list include US senators Kyrsten Sinema, Richard Scott, Patrick Toomey Jr., Kevin Cramer and Mark Kelly. Biden’s Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, has also been sanctioned. Russia also said on Thursday that it has banned 121 Australian citizens. Including journalists from Australia’s ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald, Sky News, and Nine Network, Premier Peter Malinauskas, Gina Rinehart, General Angus Campbell, Liz Hayes, Stan Grant, and Andrew Bolt.