The inevitable first round of sanctions against Russia were levied on Tuesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of Russia’s decision to recognize two rebel-held regions of Ukraine.
According to Trudeau’s announcement, Canada will be imposing the following economic sanctions:
- Impose restrictions on members of the Russian State Duma who voted for the decision to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk;
- Impose a dealings ban on the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, which will effectively prohibit Canadians from engaging in specific transactions and activities in these regions;
- Place new prohibitions on direct and indirect dealings in Russian sovereign debt; and
- Impose sanctions on two significant Russian financial institutions in order to hinder Russia’s ability to further fund its aggressive actions.
Force Russia to Choose
The hope is that these measures will force Russia to choose de-escalation and diplomacy over further aggression.
“Russia’s recent actions are a blatant attack on Ukrainian sovereignty, as well as a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and the international rules-based order. The sanctions and the additional military support we are announcing today is the first step Canada will take to stop Russia’s unwarranted aggression.
There will be serious consequences for Russia’s actions, and together with our allies and partners, we will continue to take decisive action to support the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
Additional military contributions
In addition, during his announcement, Trudeau revealed Canada would be sending additional military contributions to support NATO under Operation REASSURANCE.
The additional land, maritime, and air capabilities in Europe, according to a Department of National Defence (DND) press release, include:
- Up to an additional 460 personnel to the approximately 800 currently deployed in Europe in support of NATO, including;
- A battery of M777 artillery guns with forward observers and an electronic warfare troop to bolster the Canadian led enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia;
- A second frigate, with an embarked maritime helicopter, to participate in NATO’s Standing Naval Forces; and
- The re-tasking of a CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft already in the region, which will now operate in the Euro-Atlantic Area under NATO command and control.
Aside from military equipment, 3,400 Canadian Armed Forces personnel across all branches are authorized to deploy to the NATO Response Force, if needed.
Additionally, aside from Operation UNIFIER, Canada has also assumed leadership as one of the four Framework Nations of NATO’s Forward Presence. Canada is leading a robust multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group in Latvia.
“At this pivotal time for the security of Ukraine, Europe, and the world, Canada will continue to step up and do its part, in close collaboration with our NATO Allies. To reinforce our deterrence measures in Europe, Canada is deploying an even greater contingent to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia, and will contribute more troops and assets to bolster NATO forces in the Euro-Atlantic area. We will continue to work with our allies and partners to defend the rules-based international order that has kept us safe since the end of the Second World War,” said Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.
A History of Support
Canada has a storied history of supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty. According to the DND press release, Canada believes that “The people of Ukraine have the right to decide their own future and live free and without fear.”
“President Putin’s recent actions have shown the world that he is using any pretext to further invade Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future. Our message to Ukraine and its people is clear: you are not alone; Canada stands with you,” said Mélanie Joly, minister of foreign affairs.
Annexation & Occupation of Crimea
Since Russia’s attempted annexation and occupation of Crimea in 2014, Canada has sanctioned more than 440 individuals and entities, with many of these sanctions undertaken in coordination with our allies and partners.
In response to the recent crisis in Ukraine, Canada announced last month that it would bolster Operation UNIFIER, the CAF’s military training and capacity-building mission in Ukraine, up to $620 million in loans, and the provision of up to $10 million in lethal and non-lethal equipment and ammunition.
Aside from military support, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented measures to quickly issue travel documents to help Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and their immediate family members in Ukraine get to Canada as quickly as possible, should they wish to do so, according to the press release.
Increased Operational Capacity
IRCC has also increased operational capacity in the region and is carrying out priority-processing of applications for proof of citizenship, permanent residence, and temporary residence, including study and work permits, for Ukrainian nationals “who want to study, work, reunite with family, or start a new life in Canada.”