Canada imposes sanctions on elites, enablers of Russian regime’s ‘sham referendums’ in Ukraine

By Cristin Schmitz

Law360 Canada (September 30, 2022, 1:49 PM EDT) -- Canada has imposed more business dealing bans, effective Sept. 29, on Russian regime supporters inside and outside Ukraine, including individuals and one entity it says enabled and supported Russia’s discredited “sham referendums,” and its “attempted annexation” this month of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

“To increase pressure on the Russian regime, Canada is imposing measures on 43 Russian oligarchs, financial elites and their family members; the so-called governing body in Kherson; and 35 Russia-backed senior officials in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia,” Global Affairs Canada said in a Sept. 30 press release. 

The federal government said the individuals and the “so-called governing body in Kherson,” the Salvation Committee for Peace and Order, “are complicit in President [Vladimir] Putin’s desperate attempt to undermine the principles of state sovereignty, and share responsibility for the ongoing senseless bloodshed throughout Ukraine.”

“Building on similar measures Canada has already imposed on the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, certain business dealings in or with the Russian occupied areas of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, including investing and exporting, are henceforth prohibited,” the government said of the measures that kicked in Sept. 29.

“As brave Ukrainians push forward in a valiant counteroffensive, President Putin is attempting to annex Ukrainian territory in a cynical, desperate attempt to validate his senseless war of choice,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly said in the statement.

“Canada and its international partners see these acts for what they really are: an attack on the rules-based international order and the principles of democracy. As such, we reiterate our unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its people. Canada has always stood with Ukraine, and we will continue to do so for as long as it takes.”

The federal government keeps an updated list of all measures and sanctions Canada has imposed against 1,800 individuals and entities since Russia’s illegal attempted annexation and occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, and Russia’s illegal all-out invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Global Affairs said Canada “reiterates its strong condemnation of the Russian Federation’s war crimes in Ukraine, which include rape, torture and the indiscriminate murder of civilians. Canada will use every tool at its disposal to ensure that those responsible for violations of international law will be held accountable.”

Putin’s efforts to annex Ukrainian territory have “no legitimacy,” the federal government said. “His egregious violations of international law are based on the imperial notion that his regime can redraw the map as it pleases. The vote in Russia’s Federal Assembly to integrate Ukraine’s territories is an attempt to formalize President Putin’s conquest through political theatre. This sham process will not alter Canada’s position. Borders will not change. Ukraine’s territory will remain Ukraine’s.”

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