Ukraine conflict: Russia rebuffs new Canadian sanctions as 'awkward'

Russia has rebuffed new sanctions Canada imposed on Moscow, calling them an "awkward attempt" to prevent implementation of the eastern Ukrainian ceasefire agreement.

'Futile' to pressure Moscow through sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry says.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow in October 2014. The Russian Foreign Ministry has rebuffed new sanctions imposed by Canada over Russia's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. (Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press)

Russia has rebuffed Canada's new sanctions against Moscow, calling them an "awkward attempt" to prevent implementation of the eastern Ukrainian ceasefire agreement.

"We hope that Ottawa will reconsider the consequences of its actions that continue to fuel further military confrontation in Ukraine, and will realise that sanction-oriented pressure on Russia is futile," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"Canada's stake on sanctions will of course not remain unanswered," said Alexander Lukashevich, the official representative.

On Tuesday, in response to what Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the "escalated acts of aggression" by Russian-backed fighters in Eastern Ukraine, Canada announced travel bans against 37 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and economic sanctions against 17 Russian and Ukrainian entities, including leading Russian oil firm NK Rosneft OAO.

"Canada's position remains clear: We recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and will never recognize the illegal Russian occupation of any part of the country," Harper said in a statement.

Canada has made about a dozen such announcements since the Russian military began to intervene in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine in February 2014.

The Ukraine ceasefire deal went into effect on Sunday, but heavy fighting continued in the embattled rail hub of Debaltseve.

However, Ukraine's president said Wednesday he had ordered troops to pull out of the town, while Russian-backed separatists said they had taken hundreds of prisoners. 

With files from Reuters


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