(Moscow) Russia has imposed sanctions on nine Canadians in response to Canadian restrictions on Russian officials accused of playing a role in the imprisonment of dissident Alexei Navalny.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that several senior Canadian officials will be denied entry, including Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lamty, Police Commissioner Brenda Lockey and Canadian Corrections Commissioner Ann Kelly.
Russia’s sanctions also target Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominique LeBlanc, Prime Minister Marcy Sorex, Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Brian Brennan, and Deputy Chief of Defense Staff Mike Rouleau.
Moscow imposed similar sanctions on European and American officials for the same reason.
Alexei Navalny, the most vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, was arrested in January after returning from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from a poisoning he attributed to the Kremlin.
In February, Navalny was sentenced to two and a half months in prison for violating his suspended sentence while in Germany. This punishment came against the backdrop of accusations of embezzlement in 2014 for political reasons, according to the accused.
Russia has rejected the blatant criticism of the United States and the European Union over the imprisonment of Mr. Navalny and the repressive measures taken by Moscow against his opponents.
The tensions arising from the Navalny affair have exacerbated an already strained relationship between Russia and the West, which has been marred by the annexation of Crimea, accusations of election interference, and cyber attacks.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that Russia is open to “developing relations on the basis of mutual respect, focusing on cooperation on issues such as the Arctic, inter-regional relations and economic issues where interests converge.”
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