Boris Johnson and other Cabinet ministers have reportedly been placed on a Kremlin blacklist and banned from entering Russia in response to sanctions against the country.
The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, and former PM Theresa May are believed to be among those on the list, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement the move was due to the “unprecedented hostile actions of the British Government, expressed, in particular, in the imposition of sanctions against top officials” in Russia.
It added: “The Russophobic course of action of the British authorities, whose main goal is to stir up negative attitude toward our country, curtailing of bilateral ties in almost all areas, are detrimental to the wellbeing and interests of the residents of Britain. Any sanctions attack will inevitably backfire on their initiators and receive a decisive rebuff.”
It comes as Russian troops restarted assaults on the Ukrainian capital after a brief reprieve.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions in Ukraine and calling for the Kremlin to stop the war. We remain resolute in our support for Ukraine.”
Mr Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday afternoon.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister paid tribute to the bravery of Ukrainian forces who continue to valiantly defend their country’s freedom.
“President Zelensky updated the Prime Minister on the situation in Mariupol, and the Prime Minister said he saluted Ukrainian resistance in the city.
“The pair discussed the need for a long-term security solution for Ukraine, and the Prime Minister said he would continue to work closely with allies and partners to ensure Ukraine could defend its sovereignty in the weeks and months to come.
“The Prime Minister updated President Zelensky on new sanctions from the UK that came into force last week, and said the UK would continue to provide the means for Ukraine to defend itself, including armored vehicles in the coming days.
“The Prime Minister said international support for Ukraine only grew stronger and that he remained convinced Ukraine would succeed and Putin fail.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has said Russia’s ultimate objective remains the same despite its shifted “operational focus” to eastern Ukraine.
“It is committed to compelling Ukraine to abandon its Euro-Atlantic orientation and asserting its own regional dominance,” it said early on Sunday morning.
Government figures show around 16,400 people had arrived in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes by Monday.
About 13,200 had arrived under the Ukraine family scheme and 3,200 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, provisional data shows.
Some 94,700 applications have been received for both schemes and 56,500 visas have been granted by Thursday, the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office said.