The battle between Russia and the United States over recent actions in Crimea and the Ukraine continues.
The Kremlin has reportedly included Obama campaign fundraisers tied to the homosexual community to its "black list" of Americans banned from Russia.
The Daily Beast reports that the recent sanctions are in retaliation to the Obama administration's attack on the assets of key business associates of Vladimir Putin in March.
Thus far, the Russian government has revealed only one list of sanctioned Americans, including top Senators and White House officials.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry said publicly that it had responded to the second round of U.S. sanctions by expanding its black list, but would not reveal any names.
"Of course, such actions cannot remain unanswered. Russia responded by undertaking similar measures," the foreign ministry said in a statement that was all-but-ignored in the West.
"Of course, such actions cannot remain unanswered. Russia responded by undertaking similar measures," the foreign ministry said in a statement. While the first United States sanctions list primarily included politicians, the second one will sanction Americans equivalent to the Russians punished by the U.S.
According to the Fox News, the second American list for sanctions was highly personal, targeting important businessmen in Russia close to Putin.
Putin stated in April that he was confused as to why the Americans were targeting the Russian oligarchs.
"As for the sanctions, I consider the first package of sanctions an unlawful and hostile act against Russia, and a step that will definitely damage Russia-U.S. and Russia-EU relations," Putin stated." But as for the second package of sanctions, it is not even clear exactly what they are all about, because they have no cause and effect link to what is happening now in Ukraine and in Russia," he continued.
The Daily Beast reports that diplomat sources have confirmed that the expanded list focuses on those with ties to the gay and lesbian community.
" It's being seen as symbolic of the ongoing fight between the Kremlin and the White House over Russia's laws punishing the promotion of homosexual propaganda," says Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast.
Putin has previously warned that he was gearing up for another round of retaliatory sanctions against the U.S.
"Let me say again that there is nothing good in these sanctions-they will be damaging. The Russian Federation Government has already proposed some countermeasures," Putin said. "I do not see a need for us to take countermeasures. But if this kind of situation continues, of course we will have to start looking at who is doing what in Russia in different sectors of our economy, including the energy sector."