Russians face oil sector sanctions, new travel restrictions, over Ukraine

By , on December 22, 2014


Shutterstock photo
Shutterstock photo

OTTAWA—Canada has once again imposed new sanctions against Russia in response to its incursions into Ukraine.

The latest sanctions target 20 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and include new export restrictions on technologies used in Russia’s oil sector.

The sanctions against individuals involve freezing of assets and travel bans.

But it’s the oilpatch sanctions that will likely sting the most as Russia reels under tumbling world oil prices that have decimated the Russian currency, the ruble.

In announcing the new sanctions Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spoke about the economic hardships facing Russia, and urged the Kremlin to give up on taking over parts of Ukraine.

“This much is clear: that Russians are paying for their leaders’ reckless aggression. The ruble’s dive should be enough to give President (Vladimir) Putin and his backers pause,” said Baird.

“If he wants to turn his economy around, he must pull out of Ukraine, and he must return Crimea.”

The sanctions are also in line with what has been imposed against Russia by the United States and the European Union.

The new Canadian export restrictions prohibit the export, sale, supply or shipment of a number of goods to Russia for use in deep water, Arctic or shale oil exploration and production.

The items include steel line pipe used for oil or gas pipelines, and iron or steel tubing used in drilling for oil or gas.

Both Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated Friday what they have said repeatedly before: Canada will not tolerate Russia’s illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula and provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine.

And they warned that more pressure tactics could be used in the weeks and months ahead.

“Canada will stand in steadfast support of the Ukrainian people as they continue to struggle for peace and freedom against the Putin regime,” Harper said in a statement issued by his office.

“We stand ready to take further proposed measures with our allies and partners if required.”

While some critics have questioned the effectiveness of sanctions, Baird suggested that the measures imposed by Canada and its allies were the best method available to pressure Russia, short of a “kinetic” or military response.

On that front, Canada announced Friday that it’s sending another frigate, HMCS Fredericton, to help maintain a NATO maritime force stationed in the Mediterranean Sea.

The vessel will deploy in the coming weeks to relieve HMCS Toronto, which has been in the region since August.

Since early March, Canada has, along with its allies, imposed a number of sanctions against Russia and its supporters in Ukraine, and suspended its involvement in a G8 Summit that was scheduled to take place in Sochi, the Russian city that hosted the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Canada and other G7 countries also condemned what it called the Russian Federation’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” following a military incursion into Crimea.