Canada to impose further Russia sanctions over Ukraine
OTTAWA, Canada–Canada’s prime minister on Monday announced further economic sanctions against Russian entities and individuals, calling the downing of flight MH17 a “direct product of Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation” of Ukraine.
Stephen Harper also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to order a withdrawal of his troops from the border with Ukraine, stop a flow of weapons and militants into the country, urge separatist rebels to lay down their arms and allow investigators access to the crash site.
The Malaysia Airlines airliner was blown out of the sky on Thursday by what is believed to be a surface-to-air missile, killing 298 passengers and crew and dramatically raising the stakes in Ukraine’s bloody three-month conflict.
Kiev has blamed the rebels, citing photographs of anti-aircraft missile systems being moved from rebel-held territory into Russia less than 12 hours after the crash, and an intercepted call between an insurgent commander and a Russian intelligence officer.
“The outrageous and criminal act of shooting down a civilian airliner last week is a direct product of Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine, and demonstrates the need for the international community to continue applying pressure on the Putin regime,” Harper said in a statement.
“It is clear that the Putin regime’s continuing provocative military action against Ukraine, its illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula, and its failure to end its support to armed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine constitute a threat to international peace and security.”
The sanctions “against a broad range of entities related to various Russian sectors” follow consultations and coordination with Canada’s allies, Harper added.
Details of the sanctions were to be unveiled later Monday.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said a list of “sectoral sanctions against the Russian federation” has also been compiled, but Ottawa would await European Union and United States moves before making them public.
His EU counterparts are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss ramping up pressure on Russia.
No missiles at Wal-Mart
“I think the fact that almost 200 European souls lost their lives in this terrible tragedy will encourage those who have been less enthusiastic about taking a tough approach with the Russian Federation. We hope they will now join Canada, the United States, many within Europe, Australia, in demanding a tougher response,” Baird said.
Citing allied intelligence sources, Baird said there is “mounting evidence pointing the finger at the rebels.”
“Obviously you don’t buy this type of equipment (surface-to-air missiles) from Wal-Mart. We’re not talking about a small arm here,” he said.
“Given the fact the rebels have taken down two aircraft, a Ukrainian cargo plane in the days before, certainly it’s not difficult to come to a conclusion that the rebels are responsible,” he added.
“And we know who has been providing material support to the rebels. I’m not suggesting for a moment that anyone with intent tried to burn down a civil aviation flight. What I am saying is people are acting with great negligence and great recklessness and we’re going to follow up on that.”–Michel Comte