Correction: A previous version of this story said Victor Pinchuk had been sanctioned. This was incorrect. Sergei Pinchuk, who has no relation to Victor, was sanctioned. Global News regrets the error.
Canada is imposing new sanctions on 15 Russian officials who it says helped Russian President Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine.
The announcement comes less than two hours before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to speak to the Canadian House of Commons about the ongoing war.
“Canada will not relent in its support of Ukraine and its people. President Putin made the choice to (further) his illegal and unjustifiable invasion, and he can also make the choice to end it by immediately ending the senseless violence and withdrawing his forces,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly in the Tuesday morning press release.
“Canada will not hesitate to take further action should the Russian leadership fail to change course.”
The latest round of sanctions primarily target Russian military defence officials.
Canada has sanctioned over 900 individuals and entities in the last eight years — and 500 of those have been sanctioned since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24.
Meanwhile, the war continues to rage on, with Russia’s advance proceeding more slowly than anticipated. But that pace hasn’t stopped the Russian forces from reportedly indiscriminately bombing civilian areas.
In recent days, Russian forces have attacked a maternity hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol and launched missiles at an international military training facility 20 kilometres from the Polish border. Dozens were killed, more than 100 others were injured.
The United Nations estimates 2.95 million Ukrainians are now refugees, forced to flee to neighbouring countries as millions of others remain as part of the resistance effort.
Canada wasn’t the only Western nation to impose a fresh round of sanctions on Russia on Tuesday. Great Britain slapped sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and entities on Tuesday, catching up to the EU and U.S. by targeting droves of people accused of helping Putin’s regime.
Despite Canada and other allied nations sanctioning Russians and propping up Ukraine, they still haven’t given in to one of Zelenskyy’s most ongoing pleas: for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president has implored western nations to declare a no-fly zone for weeks now, saying it would protect the civilian population from the ruthless Russian bombings.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NATO leaders and other western politicians have all warned that a no-fly zone would require enforcement. That means NATO planes would have to shoot down Russian aircrafts over Ukraine, plunging the alliance into an all out war with Russia — a country that has nuclear bombs.
— With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly