Canada says it has extended its sanctions list against Russian and pro-Russia figures over the crisis in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement on Monday, as the two eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence from Kiev following local referendums on self-rule.
“Today, we are announcing sanctions against an additional six Russian and six Ukrainian individuals,” Harper stated, referring to pro-Russia Ukrainian individuals.
Among those added to the sanctions list are Valery Gerassimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Oleg Savelyev, minister of Crimea, and Denis Pushilin, a spokesman for the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The imposed sanctions consist of freezing of bank accounts and a ban on obtaining visas into Canada.
The Harper administration initially imposed sanctions against Russian officials after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16.
A month later, Ottawa expanded bans to include Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first deputy chief, a member of the State Duma, a group of Crimean officials as well as two Russian businessmen and two Russian banks.
In response, Moscow has slapped retaliatory sanctions against Canadian officials, with the latest ones issued on May 9.
Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said at the time that “Sanctions are not our method in general, but unfriendly actions force us to respond.”
The Russian spokesman added that the names of those who are on Moscow’s sanctions list would not be revealed as the move is not a publicity stunt.