Federal government adds 22 Belarusian defence officials to sanctions list

Canada has announced sanctions targeting 22 Belarusian defence officials for providing support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More than 500 individuals and entities have been added to the sanctions list since Russia invaded Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko shake hands during a news conference following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow last year. Twenty-two of Lukashenko's defence officials were added to Canada's sanctions list Thursday. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

Canada has announced sanctions targeting 22 Belarusian defence officials for providing support to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Just as Canada is imposing severe sanctions on the Russian regime, Belarusian leadership must also be held accountable for enabling and supporting Vladimir Putin's unprovoked attacks," Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said in a media statement. 

Joly also warned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Canada will take further action against his regime if he does not end his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

All of the 22 individuals sanctioned by Canada today were also sanctioned by the European Union on March 2. The 22 officials do not appear on the U.S. Department of the Treasury's list of sanctioned individuals. 

"These new measures impose restrictions on 22 senior officials of Belarus's department of defence who supported the attack, notably by allowing their country to serve as a launch pad for the Russian invasion," Global Affairs Canada said in a media statement Thursday.

Unlike Global Affairs Canada — which publicizes only the names of those being sanctioned — the EU provides more detailed information on sanctions targets, including job titles.

According to the EU, all 22 Belarusian officials sanctioned Thursday serve in various senior roles in the nation's military.

Some of the Belarusian individuals on the sanctions list have job titles that do not have obvious counterparts in Western militaries.

'Department of ideological work' officials sanctioned

The sanctions list includes prominent Belarusian military officials like Dmitry Anatolievich Miholap — identified by the EU as the deputy commander of the air force and air defence forces — and Alexander Ivanovich Bas, deputy commander of the Belarusian western operational command.

Less prominent officials on the list include Oleg Nikolayevich Kopyl — described by the EU as head of the department of moral and psychological support in the Belarusian defence ministry — and Anatoliy Anatolievich Bulavko, deputy commander for ideological work in the Belarusian air force and air defence forces. The EU has published a full list of job descriptions on its website. 

CBC News has asked Global Affairs Canada to verify details about the sanctioned individuals published by the EU, but has yet to receive a response.

These additions to Canada's sanction list bring the number of individuals and entities being sanctioned since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 to more than 900 people and entities, Global Affairs Canada says.

More than 500 of those individuals and entities have been added to the sanctions list since Feb. 24.

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