Trudeau announces 3rd round of sanctions against Russia, supports removing country from SWIFT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new sanctions against the Russian President and top advisors. Trudeau also says Canada is implementing sanctions against Belarus for abetting Putin in his invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced yet another round of sanctions against Russia and President Vladimir Putin, saying Canada’s government supports the removal of Russia from the SWIFT global banking system.

Canada will also impose sanctions on Russia’s Chief of Staff, Valery Gerasimov, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Trudeau says Canada has never sanctioned Putin personally, adding that the move is “significant.”

SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is established out of Belgium and handles payment requests and messages between 11,000 financial institutions across the world, delivering 42 million messages per day in 2021.

“President Putin has opened the darkest chapter yet in his assault on the Ukrainian people. But he has made a grave miscalculation,” Trudeau said.

“Canada, and increasingly the world, stand in our unwavering support of Ukraine.”

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When the U.S. considered expelling Russia from SWIFT in 2014 due to its annexation of Crimea, former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin estimated Russia’s gross domestic product would shrink 5 per cent in a year.

Russia has established an alternative payments system.

Expelling Russia and Putin from SWIFT would hurt the European Union’s ability to pay for the imports of Russian oil and gas it relies on. Roger McKnight, the chief petroleum analyst at En-Pro International Inc., said on Thursday he expects gas prices across the country to rise approximately 5 cents per litre this weekend.

With a military intervention in Ukraine off the table, countries around the world are looking to heap more financial punishment on Moscow. The United States, Britain and European Union said Friday they will move to sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO counterparts have agreed to send thousands of troops to help protect allies in Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to sanctions, Canada has also agreed to send hundreds of more troops to eastern Europe in response to the deployment of forces into Ukraine.

Canada has since banned the purchase of Russian sovereign debt and any financial dealing with the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ontario’s Premier announced on Friday it’s pulling Russian products from the shelves of government-owned liquor stores.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says the province joins Canada’s allies in condemning the Russian government’s act of aggression against the Ukrainian people and will direct the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to withdraw all products produced in Russia.

With files from The Canadian Press

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