On Monday, the Kremlin announced that Ben Stiller and Sean Penn among other notable U.S. citizens have been permanently banned from entering Russia.
The two actors have officially been banned from visiting the country amid Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine. Stiller and Penn are among 25 people who have been added to the “stop list,” which also includes Senators Kirsten Cinema, Richard Scott, Patrick Toomey Jr., and Mark Kelly.
Per an official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, via an English translation, “In response to the ever-expanding personal sanctions by the Biden Administration against Russian citizens, against another group of persons from among members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures (25 people), a ban on entry into the Russian Federation on a permanent basis." The individuals on the “stop list” were banned “based on the principle of reciprocity.”
Penn has been very outspoken about Putin’s Russia ever since the military invasion kicked off back in February. He previously said he would destroy all of his Oscars if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn’t offered an opportunity to speak at the 94th Academy Awards, and later suggested that he had considered “taking up arms against Russia.”
Stiller, meanwhile, visited Ukraine in June and met with Zelensky as part of a trip. He made the trip as a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and visited several occupied settlements within the Kyiv Region. “It’s one thing to see this destruction on TV or on social networks. Another thing is to see it all with your own eyes,” said Stiller in a meeting, per the President of Ukraine's website. “That’s a lot more shocking.”