Moscow says the ban on the entry of nine Canadians is a ‘retaliatory measure’ on sanctions imposed on Russian authorities in March.
Russia has announced a crackdown on nine Canadian officials, including a minister of justice, following a similar move from Canada in a bid to back Kremlin defender Alexey Navalny.
Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday that nine Canadians had been barred from entering Russia “indefinitely.”
Prohibited in Canada are Justice Minister David Lametti, prison chief Anne Kelly, and Scott Bishop, chief of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.
Deputy Minister of Defense Jody Thomas was also opposed by Brenda Lucki, chief of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his deputy Brian Brennan.
Military officials Mike Rouleau, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc and Marci Surkes, a senior official in the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are also on the list.
Moscow called the ban “a means of retaliation” for sanctions imposed on nine Russian officials on March 24.
Canada said at the time its sanctions were in response to violations of “major” freedoms and the closure of Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s main opposition to the House.
Navalny is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for violating “parole”.
The Canadian sanctions – which targeted Russian officials including Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) – also included economic sanctions.
Russian prosecutor Navalny was arrested after returning to Russia in January from Germany where he received treatment that German authorities determined was toxic to Russia by a banned agent.
The Kremlin said it had not seen any evidence that he had been poisoned and that his arrest was not political.
The anti-corruption activist announced he was going hungry in March to ask for appropriate help behind a a larger list of health concerns, including numbness in his legs.
Deeply debilitated by starvation, Navalny was transferred to a prison hospital on April 20 amid warnings from the West of serious consequences if he dies.
The 45-year-old politician resigned three days after Monday, with his party transferred to his prison in Pokrov, 100km (60 miles) west of Moscow.
The European Union and the United States have also received sanctions against Moscow for its treatment of Navalny since his return to Russia.