Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly on Friday announced a new wave of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime, including a ban on the import of Russian vodka, caviar and diamonds.
The ban on the import of certain luxury goods from Russia is intended to further tighten the noose on the country’s elite. The new sanctions also apply to alcoholic beverages, fish and seafood.
Conversely, Canada also bans the export to Russia of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, as well as certain textile and sportswear, footwear, luxury clothing and accessories, jewelry, kitchenware, cookware, and artwork. Together, these categories represented $75.7 million worth of goods in 2021, the Canadian government says.
Ottawa is also banning products that could be used by Russia in the production and manufacture of weapons.
Separately, Ms. Joly also imposed sanctions on 14 other individuals, including Russian oligarchs, their relatives and close associates of President Putin’s regime. “These individuals contributed directly to Vladimir Putin’s senseless war in Ukraine and are responsible for the pain and suffering the Ukrainian people endure,” said a statement from Global Affairs Canada.
Among these new people targeted by sanctions, we find billionaire Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent who bought two major UK daily newspapers, the Evening Standard and the Independent. It also funds “Novaya Gazeta”, the main Russian opposition newspaper.
Gleb Frank, owner of one of Russia’s largest fishing companies, and son of Sergei Frank, former transport minister and former CEO of Sovcomflot, Russia’s largest shipping company, is also on the new list. The same goes for Gleb Frank’s wife, Ksenia Frank, the youngest daughter of oligarch Gennady Timchenko, a close associate of President Putin. Ms. Frank lives in Switzerland and studied at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Elena Timchenko, wife of Gennady Timchenko, is also on the latest list, as is David Davidovitch, ‘right-hand man’ of oligarch Roman Abramovich, who put British Premier League club Chelsea up for sale after he was quoted in a previous sanctions list .
Freeland at the G7
The new wave of financial sanctions in Canada came as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland concluded a series of talks in Germany with her G7 counterparts and with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmyhal.
Ms. Freeland announced that Canada is providing an additional $250 million loan to Ukraine, bringing Canada’s total financial assistance to the war-torn country to $1.8 billion. The loan comes in addition to Ukraine’s military support and armaments.
Speaking to German reporters, Ms Freeland said other G7 countries were interested in following Canada’s lead by enacting legislative changes that would allow for the confiscation and sale of Russian assets, which would then be spent on rebuilding Ukraine. .
Current laws in Canada only empower the government to freeze the assets and accounts of sanctioned individuals, not seize and dispose of them. But in its Budget Implementation Act, the Canadian government announces its intention to introduce legislation that would extend the current sanctions regime to allow for asset seizures.
Ms Freeland said other G7 countries had many questions about “the seizure of Russian assets and using them to help rebuild Ukraine”, and were interested in following Canada’s lead. She believes Canada has a chance to “lead by example and show what can be done” in this regard.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,000 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
“President Putin’s regime must answer, and will answer, for its unjustified acts,” Secretary Joly said in a statement on Friday. Canada, along with its allies, will work tirelessly to keep the Russian regime under pressure until it is no longer capable of waging war. We are unwavering in our support for Ukraine and its people. †