Trudeau announces sanctions against Putin and calls for the withdrawal of Russia from the SWIFT banking system

Canada will impose sanctions directly on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle of advisers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday afternoon.

The sanctions will also extend to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s chief of staff.

“These men bear the greatest responsibility for the death and destruction in Ukraine,” Trudeau said.

“The world is witnessing the horrors of President Putin’s war of choice… It is an atrocity for Ukraine’s more than 40 million innocent citizens, and for the world.

Trudeau described the new measures as the third round of “tough and coordinated sanctions” implemented by Canada and its allies.

The United States, United Kingdom and European Union earlier Friday announced sanctions against Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

A man walks past a damaged building following a rocket attack in Kyiv on Friday. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)

EU freezes financial accounts linked to Putin. US sanctions also impose a travel ban on Putin.

Trudeau acknowledged that Putin had ‘little, if anything, in terms of personal assets in Canada’ but said the measure was important because it signaled strong cooperation from Canada and its allies. .

“This is an important step and it has its impact that we, as Western countries, are all united and aligned on this,” he said.

WATCH | Trudeau describes how the sanctions will hurt Putin:

Trudeau explains how the new sanctions will affect Russian President Vladimir Putin and his associates

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was the first time the West had imposed sanctions affecting Putin personally. 1:33

Russian embassy denounces “absurd” sanctions

In a statement late Friday, the Russian Embassy in Canada criticized the sanctions as an “unprecedentedly hostile” and “absurd” measure.

“This contradicts all principles of interstate relations and diplomatic ethics,” the embassy said.

“The Cabinet is approaching the point of an irreparable severance of bilateral relations. The response will follow.”

The statement went on to repeat Putin’s claims about “the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine”. Putin cited the need to “denazify” Ukrainian leaders as one of his main reasons for the invasion, accusing him of genocide against Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine. Kiev and its Western allies dismiss the accusations as baseless propaganda.

Canada will also impose new sanctions on Belarus, which has hosted joint exercises with the Russian military and served as a launchpad for the invasion across Ukraine’s northern border. The new sanctions apply to 57 Belarusians.

Oleksiy Honcharuk, who served as Ukraine’s prime minister from 2019 to 2020, said the additional sanctions would not deter Putin.

“Economic sanctions are not enough… It’s too little, too late,” Honcharuk told CBC. power and politics.

He called on NATO countries to send military equipment to Ukraine and to work to close the airspace above the country.

WATCH | What the sanctions mean for Putin and the Russian oligarchs:

Sanction Vladimir Putin and Russian billionaire oligarchs

Canada is one of the countries imposing personal sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, but there are questions about the effectiveness of these sanctions, given that many of these assets are held on behalf of others. 6:38

Canada joins UK in calling for Russia to withdraw from SWIFT

Trudeau is now calling for Russia’s withdrawal from SWIFT, the Belgian banking system used for many international financial transactions.

“Excluding Russian banks from SWIFT will make it even harder for President Putin to fund his brutalities,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are the NATO leaders who are pushing hardest for Russia’s withdrawal from the banking system. The two executives discussed the possibility of action on SWIFT during a call Friday, Johnson’s office reported.

People wait Friday to board an evacuation train from Kiev to the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

The EU decided on Friday that it would not recommend removing Russia from SWIFT. The United States also said it was not calling the decision yet.

The system connects some 11,000 banks and financial institutions in more than 200 countries, according to SWIFT. The service provides banks with a secure messaging system to coordinate money transfers.

WATCH | Trudeau says withdrawing from SWIFT would prevent Putin from profiting from the war:

Trudeau calls for Russia’s withdrawal from the SWIFT international banking system

Prime Minister says Putin cannot go to war and expect to benefit financially 1:15

Some European officials have been reluctant to call for Russia’s withdrawal from SWIFT, fearing the move will hurt some European countries more than Russia itself.

“It’s a sanction that can actually also cut some countries harder than Russia,” German Ambassador to Canada Sabine Sparwasser told CBC. The House. “We are discussing it, and I think it’s on the table, but no decision has been made yet.”

Alexander Stubb, former prime minister of Finland, told CBC power and politics he is “absolutely sure” that the EU will ultimately support Russia’s withdrawal from SWIFT.

Stubb said Russia’s withdrawal from SWIFT represents the “nuclear option” of sanctions that can isolate Russia from the rest of the world.

WATCH | Former Prime Minister of Finland on the future of SWIFT and Russia:

Europe will kick Russia out of SWIFT, former Finnish PM predicts

Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb thinks that Europe will impose new sanctions on Russia in order to isolate the country following its invasion of Ukraine and that eventually they will go a little further: “Europe will go through months of sanctions…including FAST.” 6:38