Former US ambassador to Russia 'banned from country and placed on Vladimir Putin's sanctions list'

Mr McFaul says he was 'banned' due to his 'close affiliation' with Barack Obama

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The Independent Online

A former US ambassador to Russia has said he has been banned from entering the country after being placed on Vladimir Putin’s “sanction lists”.

Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Moscow under Barack Obama, stated in a public post that he was no longer allowed to travel in Russia after the Kremlin put him on sanction lists in retaliation against Washington's ban on Russian officials entering the US.

The diplomat, who served as America's chief representative in Russia between 2012 and 2014, “confirmed” the ban on Twitter, before giving the alleged reason in a public post on Facebook.

Mr McFaul wrote: “Was told that I am on the Kremlin's sanctions list because of my close affiliation with Obama. I will take that as a compliment! The US sanctioned Russians close to Putin.

“To the best of my knowledge, George Kennan was the last US ambassador to USSR/Russia to be banned from travelling there. Good company! Hope that I am not on the Russia travel ban list forever. Since 1983, I've been living in and travelling to that country.”

Mr McFaul told the Associated Press he learned of the ban when applying for a visa to Russia to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton prepare for what he thought would be her transition to the White House.

In a separate post, he wrote: “I have hundreds of friends in Russia. I’m really sorry that these sanctions will make communicating with people harder.”

The Russian foreign ministry have not publicly confirmed the ban, but ministry sources told Russian news agencies Mr McFaul had been added to a sanctions list in 2014.

President-elect Donald Trump, who has spoken favorably of President Putin, has vowed to improve the US-Russia relationship.

Moscow is willing to work on the two nations’ deteriorating ties “as far as our partners in Washington are willing”, according to President Putin’s spokesman.

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