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Utah Sen. Mike Lee one of 200 Americans hit with latest Russian travel sanctions

The entire Utah congressional delegation has now been banned from traveling to Russia

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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks to the crowd as Utah Republicans gather for an election night party.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks to the crowd as Utah Republicans gather for an election night party at the Hyatt Regency in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Lee was joined on stage by his wife, Sharon, and other family and friends.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In what he calls “a badge of honor,” Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee is one of 200 American politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople and media figures barred from traveling to Russia in a largely symbolic move announced Friday.

The no-fly list was made “on the basis of reciprocity,” the Kremlin says, in response to sanctions from the Biden administration targeting a number of Russian officials and public figures.

Lee blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unprovoked attacks” on Ukraine in a statement on Monday.

“We witnessed the dejected images of Ukrainian families driven from their homes in the face of indiscriminate Russian aggression. Putin’s unhinged actions have demonstrated that Russia is not a partner responsible nations can trust,” Lee said. “For those reasons, I welcome the addition of my name to the Russian no-fly list. I will wear it like a badge of honor.” 

Lee is the latest, and final, member of Utah’s congressional delegation to be banned from Russia after almost 1,400 Americans were hit with sanctions in March, including several Utahns.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Reps. John Curtis, Burgess Owens and Blake Moore were all listed. Dale Kimball, a U.S. District Court judge in Utah, and former Utah U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman were also included. Former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch was posthumously sanctioned as well.

Those sanctions came about a week after Congress passed a $40 billion defensive and humanitarian aid package directed at Ukraine.

The bill sailed through Congress, with Utah’s three representatives and Romney all voting “yes” — Lee, citing concerns over spending amid inflation and a lack of oversight, was one of 11 Republican senators to vote against the package.

The new list names a handful of members of Congress and their spouses, defense contractors, academics, journalists and more.

They include Valerie Biden Owens and James Biden, President Joe Biden’s siblings, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., political scientist Ian Bremmer, Boeing executive Theodore Colbert III and journalist Anne Applebaum of the Atlantic.

Russia also banned 100 Canadian citizens on Monday, an eclectic list that contains Jim Carrey and Margaret Atwood. Carrey has been outspoken in his criticism toward Putin, calling his administration “intolerable evil” on social media. Atwood is the author of the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has become a hit series on Hulu.