(Meduza) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has followed through on threats against Canada, banning dozens of Canadian citizens from entering Russia. “The list includes those Russophobic Canadian citizens who have systematically worked to destroy bilateral relations,” ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
“The question is: what did Ottawa hope to gain here? Did they really think they could ‘pressure’ Russia? Or were they just indulging their political ambitions?” Zakharova said in a press statement.
“If our Canadian partners like playing sanctions games, then we’ll be forced to respond. Although we of course prefer the path of constructive cooperation on issues important to the peoples of both our countries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
Earlier on November 3, the Canadian government announced sanctions against 52 individuals in Russia, Venezuela, and South Sudan, including 30 Russian officials who Canada says played a role in the 2009 death of Russian whistleblower Sergey Magnitsky. These are the first sanctions imposed under a new law enacted in October that is modeled on a similar law in the United States, designed to withhold visas and freeze the assets of state officials believed to be involved in human rights violations.