Canada announces new sanctions against Russian individuals
Still absent from the sanctions list is Putin confidante Roman Abramovich, who has Canadian business holdings
Canada announced a further round of sanctions against Russia on Monday following a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his counterparts from Britain and the Netherlands.
Another 10 individuals have been added to the sanctions list. Their names were suggested by Alexei Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition leader and activist.
"These sanctions put increased pressure on Russia's leadership, including Putin's inner circle," said Trudeau.
Still noticeably absent from the sanctions list released Monday is billionaire Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich. He is a confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has extensive business holdings in Western Canada.
The ten Russians added to the list Monday are key media executives and personalities, business leaders and senior officials who, in some cases, also hold powerful positions in Russian industry.
Among the media personalities being sanctioned is Vladimir Solovyov, anchor and host accused of spreading propaganda. The Guardian reported that Italian police seized his villa on Lake Como shortly after the invasion started.
Also on the sanctions list is Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Russian television news network RT. She is described by the EU as a central figure in Russian government propaganda and is accused of promoting Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The third media mogul on the list is Konstantin Ernst, described by The New Yorker in 2019 as "The Kremlin's Creative Director." He is the the CEO of the television network Channel One Russia.
Among the Russian officials being sanctioned are Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, banker and Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev, Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and former justice minister Pavel Krasheninnikov.
Canada is also targeting two officials of the FSB, the successor to the KGB: Victor Gavrilov and Dmitry Ivanov. Both men are alleged to have been involved in the arrest of Navalny.
Also on the list is Oleg Deripaska, a Russian industrialist with interests in aluminum, mining, airports and energy projects.
The Liberal government has faced increasing pressure — notably from the Ukrainian government — to target Abramovich.
Canadian sanctions to date have targeted hundreds of officials in the Russian regime and a much smaller number of oligarchs.
While the Russian economy and Russian businesses have taken a major hit, there is little sign of any impact on the ground in Ukraine. Attempts to establish humanitarian corridors have failed and 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine to escape relentless bombardment.
The allies say they recognize the disconnect.
"Yes, I agree with you. The sanctions have not had the desired effect," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in response to a reporter's question Monday. "They have a huge effect on Russia but they are not against the Russians."
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called this meeting with Trudeau and Rutte to promote his idea of a humanitarian coalition to help Ukraine.
Even after the meeting, the corridor remained a vague proposal to provide long-term assistance to Ukraine.
"As Ukrainians resist Russia's onslaught with courage and tenacity, the international community must aid their struggle in every way we can," Johnson said.
The three leaders, who met at a Royal Air Force base west of London, also discussed Europe's dependence on Russian oil and natural gas.
Trudeau said Europeans have started to realize that Moscow is an unreliable partner.
Johnson has suggested that shifting Europe's energy sources away from Russian control could affect the world's climate change targets. He insisted that doesn't mean those goals are being abandoned.
The U.S., meanwhile, is discussing a ban on Russian oil. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is prepared to move unilaterally if necessary.
Rutte said that while no one doubts Europe must diversify its energy supplies, the work of untangling the continent from Moscow has to be done in an orderly manner.
"It is a step-by-step process," he said. "We have to make sure to de-leverage our dependency on Russian oil and natural gas. If we forced companies to quit doing business with Russia in that realm, that would have enormous consequences."
Trudeau was greeted at 10 Downing Street by a handful of angry protesters waving Canadian flags and calling for the release of Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the anti-vaccine mandate convoy that occupied downtown Ottawa for weeks.
The protest prompted Trudeau to use a separate entrance.
With files from the CBC's Peter Zimonjic