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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha and Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey have been banned from Russia, as their names appeared on a recently published list of U.S. citizens no longer welcome into the country.
The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry published a list of personal sanctions against roughly 500 people, arguing the decision was made in response to “regularly imposed anti-Russian sanctions” by the Biden administration.
“Darn,” Neronha tweeted in response to the news about him being on the list.
“There goes the summer vacation on Lake Ladoga,” he quipped, referencing a large fresh-water lake nearby Saint Petersburgh.
Neronha said he does not know what prompted the Kremlin to include him among the 500 names, which includes a handful of other state attorneys general. He appears to be the only elected official from the Rhode Island on the list.
“If it has anything to do with my local or national actions behalf of Rhode Island or Americans more broadly, it obviously is not going to alter our work,” Neronha said. “I have no plans to travel to Russia.”
“It seems rather silly, candidly,” he added.
Other New England leaders no longer allowed include Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, Vermont U.S. Rep. Rebecca Balint, and New Hampshire Attorney General John General John Formella, along with former Vermont Attorney General Thomas “T.J.” Donovan.
The list also includes several university educators and other New England natives, including comedian Seth Meyers.
“Given the atrocities we are seeing the Kremlin carry out, being blacklisted by Russia is a badge of honor,” Formella said in a statement. “I am proud to vigorously enforce New Hampshire law and will continue to do so despite attempts like this to try and intimidate America’s public officials. This ‘action’ will have no impact on me, my office, or our work.”
The relationship between Russia — which continues its war against Ukraine — and the United States has become increasingly strained in recent months. In March, Russia arrested U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich and accused him of espionage.
U.S. officials have declared the Wall Street Journal reporter is being wrongfully held and have called for his release. On Tuesday, however, a Russian court extended a pretrial hearing for Gershkovich by three months.
“While we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed,” Wall Street Journal officials said in a statement. “The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”
Tim White contributed to this report
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