Canada imposes sanctions on more than 200 Russians in eastern Ukraine, where war escalates

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OTTAWA — Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 200 people loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas.

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Canada’s Interior Ministry says the new measures target 11 senior officials and 192 other members of the people’s councils of the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics for supporting Putin’s attack on the area.

Russian forces have been supporting separatists in the Donbas region for eight years since Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

This Russian-backed separatist insurgency claimed 14,000 lives before Putin launched an all-out war to take over the country on February 24, an offensive that failed in the face of determined Ukrainian resistance backed by Western weapons.

Now Putin has refocused his war on the predominantly Russian-speaking eastern region of Ukraine, abandoning a failed attempt to seize the capital Kyiv and oust the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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The Canadian sanctions focus on Russia’s renewed attempt to annex areas of Donbass, targeting people trying to support the next phase of Russia’s two-month-old war with Ukraine.

“Canada will not sit back and watch as President Putin and his associates try to redraw Ukraine’s borders with impunity. International law must be respected,” Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said.

“Canada is using every tool at its disposal to ensure that the rules-based international order is upheld and that those involved in violations of international law are held accountable for their crimes.”

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Canada has sanctioned more than 1,000 people or entities from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus since the February 24 invasion, bringing the total number of people sanctioned since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 to 1,400.

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On Tuesday, Jolie said the Liberal government intends to pass legislation that would allow sanctioned and frozen assets to be repurposed to help victims.

“We are looking to not only arrest, but also allow for the confiscation of the assets of individuals and entities under sanctions, and allow us to compensate the victims with the proceeds. These changes will make Canada’s sanctions regime the first in the G7 to allow such actions,” Jolie said in a statement.

“Sanctions are already hurting the Russian economy and draining the resources Putin has to continue his illegal war. We will continue to exert maximum pressure on the Putin regime and impose a serious price for this war of choice.”

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Senator Ratna Omidwar has a bill to that effect which is currently on its third reading in the Senate.

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On Tuesday, Jolie spoke with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken when the couple reaffirmed their continued support for Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Anita Anand will arrive in Washington later this week for a face-to-face meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon.

Canada added 14 more Russians to its sanctions list last week, including two of Putin’s adult daughters, Maria Vorontsova, 36, and Katerina Tikhonova, 35.

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