Canada announces military aid to Ukraine, Russian sanctions; Kremlin retaliates

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Nov. 14 (UPI) — Canada on Monday announced an additional $375.7 million in military assistance for Ukraine and sanctions targeting nearly two dozen Russians, prompting the Kremlin to blacklist 100 Canadians, including actor Jim Carey and writer Margaret Atwood, in retaliation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the military contribution and sanctions while in Bali, Indonesia, to attend the G20 economic summit.

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“We, along with other members of the international community, will continue to use every tool at our disposal to hold Russia accountable for its brutal actions against Ukraine,” the prime minister said in a statement.

The assistance of weapons as well as non-lethal surveillance and communications equipment, fuel and medical supplies lifts Canada’s total military commitment to Ukraine to more than $751 million. That is also on top of the $2.5 billion in assistance, including humanitarian and otherwise, that Ottawa has contributed to Kyiv’s fight against Russia.

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“Thank you, Justin Trudeau and [the Canadian people],” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted Thursday. “This is more evidence that [Ukraine] and [Canada] are true allies who share common values and have the same goals.

“We will always remember the help that sister [Canada] provided in the most difficult times. Together we will win!”

Ottawa also added 23 members of Russia’s justice and security sectors, including police officers, prosecutors, judges and prison officials, to its list of sanctioned Russians on accusations of being involved in gross and systematic human rights violations against opposition leaders, Trudeau said.

According to Global Affairs Canada, the sanctions went into effect Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly explained via Twitter they are blacklisting those responsible for the arrest of Russian activist Vladimir Kara-Mruza — who’s been behind bars since April over his criticism of the Kremlin’s war — and those “who enacted a witch hunt against him & other Russian dissidents.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Canada has sanctioned more than 1,400 people and entities accused of being complicit in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.

Russia has responded to some of those actions with entry bans of its own, including on Thursday when its foreign ministry sanctioned 100 Canadians.

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The country’s foreign ministry said in a statement that politicians, academics, company leaders and a handful of writers and entertainers were sanctioned over their “aggressive anti-Russian course.”

Atwood jested online that the Russian entry ban has ruined the weekend getaway she and Carey had planned for Moscow.

“Guess it will have to be Kyiv instead,” she said.

“Yes, [Margaret Atwood], I’m afraid the worst has happened. We’re banned from Russia … but the problems of 100 Canadians don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world!” Carey replied, paraphrasing a famous quote quoting from the World War II film “Casablanca.”

“We’ll always have Paris,” he continued. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”