MOSCOW - Kremlin officials have added US actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn to Russia’s “stop list”, meaning they are now banned from entering the country. They join the likes of fellow Hollywood star Morgan Freeman, 

US President Joe Biden and outgoing UK PM Boris Johnson. Russia and some Western nations have been exchanging rounds of sanctions since the war in Ukraine began. Oligarchs linked to Vladimir Putin have been issued with similar travel bans in the West.

The Russian foreign ministry named 25 high-ranking US officials, business people and actors and said they were banned from entering Russia “on a permanent basis”.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, four deputy commerce secretaries and six US senators appeared on the list. 

“The hostile actions of the American authorities, which continue to follow a Russophobic course, destroying bilateral ties and escalating confrontation between Russia and the United States, will continue to be resolutely rebuffed,” the ministry said.

Stiller and Penn have been outspoken critics of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and both have visited Kyiv since the start of the conflict.

Stiller, who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - made clear his feelings for Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on a trip he made to the country to mark World Refugee Day in June.

In a clip of the pair, the star thanks Zelensky for “taking the time” to meet him and says: “You’re my hero, you’re amazing.”

Meanwhile, Penn, who is known for his political activism as much as he is for his films, fled Ukraine in March while filming a documentary about the conflict. He later said he considered joining Ukrainian forces to fight against Russia.

The two actors are now among 1,073 names on Russia’s “stop list”. It also includes US film director Rob Reiner, incoming British Prime Minister Liz Truss and scores of UK, US and EU officials.

The latest retaliatory measures from Russia come as a response to sanctions by the US administration. The latest were announced on Friday as part of a wider plan by the G7 to impose a price cap on Russian oil in a bid to scupper Moscow’s ability to finance its war. 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the cap would also help fight inflation, which is on the rise in many of the world’s economies.