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Canada targets Russian elites, major banks in new sanctions amid Ukraine invasion

Click to play video: 'Canada slaps Russia with ‘severe’ sanctions over Ukraine invasion'
Canada slaps Russia with ‘severe’ sanctions over Ukraine invasion
WATCH: Canada has hit Russia with more sanctions following the Kremlin's attack on Ukraine. Global National's Dawna Friesen speaks with Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly on the steps Canada is taking and not taking, and Mercedes Stephenson analyzes Ottawa's response. – Feb 24, 2022

Canada is targeting members of the Russian elite and major banks in a series of new sanctions after Moscow ordered a invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the sanctions – which are in addition to the penalties introduced Tuesday – in Ottawa hours after the invasion began.

Who is being sanctioned?

Trudeau said Ottawa is targeting 58 individuals and entities, including members of the Russian elite and their family members, as well as the paramilitary organization known as the Wagner Group, and major Russian banks.
Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Canada imposes severe new sanctions on Russia'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Canada imposes severe new sanctions on Russia

Furthermore, Canada is also sanctioning members of the Russian Security Council, including the defence, finance and justice ministers. Finally, Ottawa has ceased granting all export permits for Russia and cancelled existing permits.

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“I want to be clear. Our quarrel is not with the people of Russia,” Trudeau said.

“It is with President (Vladimir) Putin and Russian leadership that has enabled and supported this further invasion of Ukraine.”
Click to play video: 'How effective are sanctions against Russia?'
How effective are sanctions against Russia?

On Tuesday, Trudeau introduced the first round of economic sanctions against Russia, banning Canadians from all financial dealings with the two breakaway Ukrainian regions that Putin recognized on Monday: Donetsk and Luhansk.

Those sanctions also targeted members of the Russian parliament who voted to recognize the separatist regions, and banned Canadians from engaging in purchases of Russian sovereign debt.

How will they work?

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly called Canada’s new sanction package one of the “strongest” to be released recently.

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Joly said Canada is blocking any exports to Russia that require permits, while also cancelling existing permits and denying any new applications for exports. Joly said the sanctions will impact aerospace and technology companies, including tech companies in the minerals sector.

Click to play video: 'Russian Ukraine conflict: What is Putin’s end game?'
Russian Ukraine conflict: What is Putin’s end game?

The companies need to have permits to send their goods to Russia, Joly added, saying the permit cancellations are worth more than $700 million.

“We call on Russia to stop its attack immediately and to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy,” Joly said.

“This madness has to stop.”

Joly promised more sanctions will come.

Why are sanctions being imposed?

Trudeau said the new sanctions, which are also being imposed on Russian elites, will limit Putin’s “ability to continue funding this unjustified invasion.”

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The individual sanctions “will impose severe costs on complicit Russian elites,” he added.
Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau decries ‘horrific, unprovoked attack’'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau decries ‘horrific, unprovoked attack’

Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Trudeau said Canada’s trade relationship with the country has decreased significantly. But the sanctions being imposed by Western allies together will have a serious impact, he added.

“The cumulative impact of the unity in the West in standing strong on these sanctions is going to be significant,” he said.

“Sanctions work.”

People take photos of damage caused by a rocket on Feb. 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

For weeks, western nations have promised devastating sanctions on the Russian economy if Putin launched a military invasion in Ukraine. The tactic has been seen as a way to deter Russia from pursuing further military action against its neighbour.

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G7 leaders met on Thursday and said in a joint statement they are “bringing forward severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions” against Russia.

Among the nations delivering new sanctions is United Kingdom. The U.K. is freezing the assets of all major Russian banks in Britain, including VTB Bank, Russia’s second-biggest bank, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday. Britain also plans to bar Russian companies and the Russian government from raising money on U.K. markets.

The U.K. will also ban the export of a wide range of high-tech products, including semiconductors, to Russia and will bar the nation’s flagship airline, Aeroflot, from landing at U.K. airports.

‘Now is the time for us to be strong’

Back in Ottawa, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is Ukrainian-Canadian, said history will not remember Putin kindly.

“Today, he cements his place in the ranks of the reviled European dictators who caused such carnage in the 20th century,” she said.

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Canada is home to the third most populous Ukrainian community outside the two countries embroiled in the ongoing conflict.

Click to play video: 'Freeland appeals to Ukrainian-Canadians amid Russian attack: ‘Now is the time for us to be strong’'
Freeland appeals to Ukrainian-Canadians amid Russian attack: ‘Now is the time for us to be strong’

During her speech, Freeland spoke directly to Ukrainian-Canadians and urged them to be together during this time.

“Now is the time for us to be strong as we support our friends and family in Ukraine. Now is the time for us to remember,” she said.

During the announcement, officials said Canada has arranged for the safe passage of any Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families still in Ukraine through land borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.

The federal government is also prioritizing immigration applications for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada, and is launching a dedicated telephone line for anyone who has any urgent questions about immigrating from Ukraine.

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An armoured vehicle passes a police post in the town of Armyansk in northern Crimea. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces in response to appeals for help from the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images

Click to play video: 'Western allies slam Russia with ‘severe’ sanctions amid Ukraine invasion'
Western allies slam Russia with ‘severe’ sanctions amid Ukraine invasion

Joly, meanwhile, highlighted the Russian aggression over the past few weeks that led up to the invasion of Ukraine.

She said Russia “lied,” had been gearing up for this moment, and cannot hold anyone accountable but itself.

“Russia is solely responsible for this crisis. They have chosen deception, intimidation and a manufactured crisis based on lies and false flag operations,” she said.

“Today, the Russian regime is challenging the world order that has kept (us) safe since the Second World War.”

— with files from Ahmar Khan, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press.

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