Russia Blocks Americans From Entering The Country — But Doesn't Say Which Americans

In retaliation for numerous economic sanctions imposed by the West, Russia has banned more Americans from entering the country. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich made the announcement today, insisting that “such actions cannot be left without a reaction,” but he didn’t specify which individuals would be subject to the ban. This is in addition to the 11 high-profile Americans, including Senator John McCain, who have already been prohibited from entering the country.

On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama to discuss a diplomatic solution to the Crimean crisis, which prompted the original sanctions. The White House confirmed that Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to “discuss next steps.”

U.S.—Russian tensions, which were already high following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, have increased further following reports that Russia is amassing tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border. Some observers, including NATO chief Phillip Breedlove, fear that Putin is planning to invade Eastern Ukraine; while that may still be the case, the fact that Moscow has reached out to Washington is the first sign over the last couple of days that it another invasion may not be in the cards.