New sanctions and condemnation
On March 16, 2019, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland issued a statement on the fifth anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea.
According to the statement, “the world has witnessed a severe suppression of human rights in Crimea—committed by Russian authorities—including arbitrary arrests, torture, detentions, disappearances and the suppression of freedom of expression and association.” Canada condemns “the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities” and calls on Russia to reinstate the banned self-governing body of Crimean Tatars in rights. A call for a release of Ukrainian political prisoners, including Oleg Sentsov, is also mentioned in the paper.
“Together with the international community, we will continue to maintain pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law.”
On March 15, 2019, in line with the EU and the USA, Canada announced new sanctions against 114 individuals and 15 entities under the Magnitsky Act in response to Russia’s use of its military force near the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, and annexation of Crimea. Among others, the latest asset freezes and dealings prohibitions are applied to Konstantin Kosachev (chair of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee), Igor Rotenberg (Russian billionaire businessman closely associated with Vladimir Putin), Igor Sechin (chairman of the board of directors of JSC Rosneft), Vladimir Yakunin (former president of Russian Railways), Sukhoi Aviation JSC, JSC Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG and Tupolev CJSC. In total, since 2014, Canada has sanctioned 435 individuals and entities.
On the same day, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a comment on these new anti-Russian sanctions. The Ministry claims it to be a part of the existing Russophobic policy in Canada. The Russian side sees Canadian eagerness in this issue as an attempt to win the United States in a sanctions race. In turn, Russia advises the Trudeau government to concentrate on internal problems in the country. However, it is stated that the response will follow.