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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.