British Columbia has joined numerous Canadian provinces in pulling Russian products from the shelves of government liquor stores amid escalating violence in Ukraine.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth confirmed the move late Friday afternoon.
“As we stand with those who want to live in peace and against those who commit deplorable and illegal acts of aggression, we have put an immediate halt to the importing and sale of Russian liquor products from our BC Liquor Stores and provincial liquor distribution centres,” Farnworth said in a media release.
“We should do all we can to support the people of Ukraine and not benefit Putin’s regime while this unprovoked aggression continues.”
Asked about the proposal earlier Friday, B.C. Premier John Horgan said the province was following the federal government’s lead on international relations.
“We are working with the federal government in how British Columbia can participate in whatever sanction programs they put in place,” Horgan said.
“For sanctions to be effective they have to be comprehensive.”
Horgan also threw his support behind Ukrainians, condemning the “unlawful actions of the government of Russia in taking away the liberties and threatening the lives of the people of Ukraine.”
The BC Liquor Stores website lists seven products from Russia: six vodkas and Baltika 7 beer. Four of the vodkas are different sizes of one brand, Russian Standard.
Earlier Friday, Ontario Finance Minister peter Bethlenfalvy said his province was moving to remove Russian products from the shelves of Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores.
That move, which Ontario said would take about 24 hours, would affect an estimated 25 products.
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have also confirmed they are removing Russian-sourced products from their liquor stores.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine continued Friday, with most Russian troops still more than 50 km from the city centre of capital city Kyiv’s city centre, according to Britain’s defence ministry.
The city of three million was rocked by explosions Friday, with many residents sheltering in underground transit stations.
Canada unveiled a sanctions package against Russian elites and major banks Thursday, and blocked export permits to Russia.