Announcing sanctions on Russia
Hello everyone. Good afternoon.
Welcome to the fifth daily press conference of this week with me. I’m joined here today by Minister Joly, and virtually by Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Ministers Anand, Fraser, Sajjan, to announce further measures in response to the tragedy in Ukraine.
The world is witnessing the horrors of President Putin’s war of choice. This is a brutal, needless attack on a sovereign democratic country. It is an atrocity for Ukraine’s over 40 million innocent citizens, and for the world.
President Putin’s blatant disregard for freedom, democracy, international law, and human life must have consequences. Earlier today I met with our NATO allies. I also met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss our coordinated response to the rapidly deteriorating situation.
We have made it clear: Canada, along with its allies and partners, is prepared to intensify measures and impose even harsher consequences on President Putin and those who stand with him.
Today, Canada is announcing our third set of severe coordinated sanctions. First, we will be imposing sanctions on President Putin and his fellow architects of this barbaric war, his Chief of Staff and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. These men bear the greatest responsibility for the death and destruction occurring in Ukraine.
Additionally, I am confirming Canada’s support to remove Russia from the SWIFT payment system, a critical part of the global banking system. We’ve made it clear that all options are on the table when it comes to imposing steep costs on Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion, and that includes taking steps to exclude Russia from making financial transactions around the world. Excluding Russian banks from SWIFT would make it even more difficult for President Putin to finance his brutalities.
Canada is also announcing that we will levy additional sanctions on Belarus and its leaders for abetting President Putin’s invasion of a free and sovereign nation. These will target 57 individuals and are in addition to the dozens of existing strong sanctions already leveled against Alexander Lukashenko’s regime for their repeated systematic human rights violations and decades of oppression of their own people.
Today, Canada is announcing a third set of coordinated sanctions. These sanctions target President Putin, his Chief of Staff, and his Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov. They also target the Belarusian regime, which has abetted this invasion. In addition, we are announcing Canada’s strong support for removing Russia from the SWIFT banking system.
The human toll of this crisis is enormous. The world is witnessing tragic scenes of bombings and widespread displacement. President Putin has triggered a refugee crisis in Europe. I know that it is in our nature as Canadians to want to help. Canadians are always ready to extend their generosity to those most vulnerable. So today, we are announcing that our government will match every donation you make to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal, up to $10 million.
Today we are announcing that our government will match every donation you make to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal, up to $10 million. This money will go directly to supporting relief efforts in the region. This is in addition to the $50 million for development and humanitarian aid previously announced and the $620 million in sovereign loans we have made available to Ukraine’s government.
And on a more personal note, let me just say that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, quite well over the past number of years. Like I told them when we spoke yesterday, I am inspired by his resolve and his devotion to his country. He is the embodiment of the courage of Ukrainian people, and just like him, Ukrainian people are showing incredible strength and resilience.
President Putin’s war on Ukraine is a war on freedom, on democracy, and on the rights of Ukrainians and all people to determine their own future. President Putin has opened the darkest chapter yet in his assault on the Ukrainian people, but he has made a grave miscalculation. People around the world, including in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, are standing against his brutal and unnecessary war. They’re standing with Ukraine, as are all of us. Canada, and increasingly the world, stand united and unwavering in our support of Ukraine.