Canada sanctions nine Russian officials over Navalny jailing

OTTAWA (AFP) – Canada on Wednesday slapped new sanctions against nine Russian officials in response to “gross” rights violations and silencing of Kremlin critics including Alexey Nalvany, who was poisoned and jailed.

The measure follows similar actions taken earlier this month by the European Union (EU) and the United States (US).

“The Russian government has repeatedly shown its unwillingness to respect the basic rights of its own people,” Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement. He said Canada and its allies will continue to increase pressure on Moscow to release Navalny – a central figure of Russia’s opposition movement who survived a near-fatal poisoning with a Novichok nerve agent last year – and his supporters “who have been unlawfully detained”.

The Canadian sanctions target Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov; Chief Lawyer who prosecuted Navalny Igor Krasnov; Head of Prisons Aleksandr Kalashnikov; senior staff in President Vladimir Putin’s office and defence officials.

Russia denounced the sanctions and promised to respond in kind.