Russian bans entry to 13 Canadians lawmakers and officials

Drew Gerencer emailed KXAN this photo of a dirt-covered hailstone that fell near his house around 1:30am Sunday morning. Drew lives near Kingsland, TX.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has slapped an entry ban on 13 Canadian lawmakers and officials in retaliation for Canadian sanctions against Moscow over its action in Ukraine.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in Monday’s statement that the move is a response to the “unacceptable action by the Canadian side that has inflicted serious damage to bilateral relations.”

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has acted in unison with the U.S. administration to introduce sanctions targeting members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s entourage following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

The Russian list includes Harper’s aides Christine Hogan and Wayne Wouters; the House of Commons speaker Andrew Scheer; Peter Van Loan, the government leader in the house; Senator Raynell Andreychuk; and other lawmakers.

Irwin Cotler, a parliament member of the opposition Liberal Party who was also on the list, tweeted that he sees the Russian sanctions “as a badge of honor.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia remains open to a “constructive” cooperation with Canada, but added that “we don’t need such cooperation more than Ottawa does.”

Adam Hodge, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, said that the Russian statement was “concerning,” adding that “Canadian officials named today by Russia aren’t oligarchs or threatening to annex parts of peaceful neighbors by military force.”

“We remain gravely concerned by the situation in Crimea and we will continue to voice our extreme displeasure with the Russian Federation on a variety of levels,” Hodge said. “Instead of responding to the calls of the international community to withdraw their troops, Russia has continued its provocative actions. This is entirely unacceptable.”

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