Russian Foreign Ministry tells Mary Landrieu: ‘Nyet’

Not that she was planning to visit anytime soon, but the Russian Foreign Ministry says U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., would not be welcome.

Louisiana’s senior senator and eight other American officials were sanctioned Thursday by the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Inasmuch as Landrieu and the eight other Americans have few financial assets the Russian government can freeze, the “reciprocal sanctions” announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry mean no visas to travel to Russia.

“Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor,” Landrieu said in a prepared statement.

Another of the nine joked the designation would interrupt his travel plans.

“While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” tweeted Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., minority leader of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security, which Landrieu chairs.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tweeted, “I’m proud to be sanctioned by Putin — I’ll never cease my efforts & dedication to freedom & independence of #Ukraine, which includes #Crimea.”

The Russian move came minutes after President Barack Obama introduced a new round of U.S. sanctions targeting some senior government officials along with businessmen close to Putin. The sanctions were in response to the Crimean situation. Putin has sent troops into the Crimean peninsula, which was part of the Ukraine.

Shortly before Obama made his announcement Thursday, 443 of 446 members of Russia’s lower legislative chamber voted to ratify Crimea’s admittance into the Russian Federation.

“We are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals,” Obama said Thursday. A list of an additional 20 individuals was released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

On Monday, the Obama administration banned visas and froze assets of 11 Russians and Ukrainian officials.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a prepared statement posted on the Kremlin’s website: “There should be no doubt: for every hostile attack we will respond adequately.”

The statement noted that the residents of the Crimea had voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s list of sanctioned Americans includes: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Sens. Landrieu, McCain and Coats.

The list also names Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, along with White House advisers Caroline Atkinson and Dan Pfeiffer.

Landrieu is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and a frequent supporter of free access of natural gas.

Western European countries get about 30 percent of their natural gas supplies from Russia, most of which travels in pipelines through Ukraine.

During the past eight years, those exports have twice been interrupted because of disputes Russia had with Ukraine.

“We must minimize Russia’s influence over Europe, the former Soviet states — especially Ukraine that has fought so long for freedom — and our allies. And it most certainly will not stop me from advocating for orphans in Russia and around the world,” Landrieu said.

Landrieu’s office announced in a prepared statement that the Energy Committee would hold hearings next week on expanding liquefied natural gas exports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.