Russia imposes sanctions on 144 citizens of Baltic states

(Reuters) - Russia has introduced personal sanctions against 144 government officials, journalists, lawmakers and other public figures from the three Baltic states who are deemed "most hostile" to Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - ruled from Moscow during the Cold War but now members of the European Union and NATO - have been among the strongest critics of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry said the move was a response to what it called active lobbying by the three Baltic republics for more sanctions against Russia and to their "interference in our internal affairs, inciting Russophobic sentiments".

Last year, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania began restricting the entry of Russian citizens travelling from Russia and Belarus in response to what Moscow calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Gareth Jones)