(Adds report, upgrades sourcing for Foreign Ministry remarks)
MOSCOW, March 28 Russia has retaliated against
expanded sanctions imposed by Western countries over its
annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, the Foreign Ministry said
on Friday without naming any U.S. or European Union officials
The United States and the EU have imposed two rounds of visa
bans and asset freezes on Russian officials, lawmakers and other
allies of President Vladimir Putin to punish Moscow for what
Western states say is the illegal seizure of Crimea.
"Naturally, such actions cannot be left without a reaction,"
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a
statement. "The Russian side has taken measures in response,
which in many ways mirror (the Western sanctions)."
He did not name anyone affected. State-run news agency RIA
quoted an unidentified high-level official as saying the new
figures on Moscow's blacklist would find out they were barred
from entry "when they (try to) cross the Russia border".
Some of the 11 U.S. officials and lawmakers named on an
initial Russian blacklist announced last week treated the idea
of being barred from Russia with derisive sarcasm. Senator John
McCain said it meant his "spring break in Siberia is off".
Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia in a
March 16 referendum dismissed as a sham by Western governments
that say it violated Ukraine's constitution and was held only
after Russian forces seized control of the Black Sea peninsula.
The United States and EU, worried that Putin could seek to
take control of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine, have
warned they could impose broader sanctions affecting entire
sectors of Russia's economy if he escalates the crisis.
While it listed McCain and 10 other U.S. officials and
lawmakers barred from Russia in response to the initial U.S.
sanctions, Moscow has not named any affected officials from the
EU, Canada or Australia, which have imposed similar measures.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Tom Heneghan)