Russia sanctions Ben Stiller and Sean Penn over Ukraine support

Ben Stiller (left) and Sean Penn have been vocal supporters of Ukraine in the conflict. PHOTOS: REUTERS

LONDON - Russia hit Hollywood stars Ben Stiller and Sean Penn with sanctions on Monday in response to their public criticism of Moscow's war on Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry included the actors on a new list of 25 United States citizens - mostly politicians, trade officials and industrial executives - that it was placing under sanctions and banning from entering Russia.

Stiller and Penn have been vocal supporters of Ukraine in the conflict and have met Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in high-profile shows of support.

In a televised meeting in Kyiv in June, Stiller, star of Zoolander, Meet The Parents and Dodgeball, told Mr Zelensky: "You're my hero."

Two-time Oscar winner Penn was in Ukraine recording a documentary when Russia invaded on Feb 24. He was forced to flee on foot, joining the millions of Ukrainians crossing into Poland in the first days of the war.

He has been a vocal backer of Mr Zelensky since, returning to Ukraine in June to meet him.

Penn also visited Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, the sites of alleged atrocities against civilians by Russian forces, and Mr Zelensky has publicly thanked him for his support.

The sanctions freeze any Russian assets that those on the list have, prohibit Russian citizens from doing business with them, and ban them from travelling to Russia.

The list also includes US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, four deputy commerce secretaries and six US senators.

The West has imposed an unprecedented barrage of economic and personal sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow has retaliated with tit-for-tat sanctions on politicians, business leaders and cultural figures who it says are hostile to Russia. REUTERS

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