Russia bans entry to Boris Johnson, other top UK officials

Russia’s entry blacklist includes UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, former Prime Minister Theresa May and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

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MOSCOW: Moscow on Saturday announced it was banning entry to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several other top UK officials, after London imposed sanctions on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

“This step was taken as a response to London’s unbridled information and political campaign aimed at isolating Russia internationally, creating conditions for restricting our country and strangling the domestic economy,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry accused London of “unprecedented hostile actions,” in particular referring to sanctions on Russia’s senior officials.

“The British leadership is deliberately aggravating the situation surrounding Ukraine, pumping the Kyiv regime with lethal weapons and coordinating similar efforts on the behalf of NATO,” the ministry said.

Russia’s entry blacklist includes UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, former Prime Minister Theresa May and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Britain has been part of an international effort to punish Russia with asset freezes, travel bans and economic sanctions, since President Vladimir Putin moved troops into Ukraine on February 24. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said nine humanitarian corridors had been agreed for Friday to evacuate civilians, including by private car from the besieged city of Mariupol.

Other evacuation routes include ones from Berdiansk, Tokmak, Enerhodar and Sievierodonetsk.

The governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, meanwhile urged residents of six towns to evacuate, adding that one person had been killed and five wounded in Russian shelling of the town of Kreminna.

Gaidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app: “Don’t hesitate and leave while that possibility remains. … Choose life, buses are waiting for you at the pickup points. As are trains, of which there are enough.” A military hardware factory in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was hit by strikes early Saturday, an AFP journalist said, a day after Russian forces bombed a missile unit outside the city.

Smoke rose from the area and there was a heavy police and military presence after Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on social media there had been explosions in the capital’s Darnyrsky district.

Russia’s defense ministry said Moscow’s forces had used “high-precision long-range” weapons to hit facilities at an armaments plant in Kyiv.

The strike on the Ukrainian capital is among the first since invading Russian forces began withdrawing from regions around Kyiv last month, instead turning their focus on gaining control of the eastern Donbas region.

Russian strikes on Friday however hit the Vizar plant, near the capital’s international airport, seriously damaging the facility that produces missiles in the overnight strikes.

Russia said it had used sea-based long-range missiles to hit the factory, which Ukraine’s state weapons manufacturer says produced Neptune cruise missiles.

Klitschko said authorities were still determining whether anyone had been killed or injured in the attack.

Residential areas of Kyiv were struck repeatedly at the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from late February. Moscow has denied intentionally striking civilian infrastructure.

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