MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has issued a statement announcing fresh economic sanctions and travel bans against 37 Russian and Ukrainian individuals, and economic sanctions against 17 Russian and Ukrainian entities over their alleged role in the escalation of the situation in Ukraine.
"In coordination with our EU and U.S. partners, Canada is once again intensifying its response to the situation [in southeastern Ukraine] by announcing further sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities," Harper said Tuesday as quoted in a statement released on his official website.
According to the statement, the new restrictive measures target, among others, Director General of the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Dmitry Kiselev, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov and deputy head of the Russian Armed Forced general staff Andrei Kartapolov.
Antonov and Kartapolov were included in the list of individuals sanctioned over their alleged involvement in the destabilization of Ukraine, released by the European Union on Monday.
According to Harper, the new measures are being enacted in response to the recent escalations of violence in southeastern Ukraine, particularly in the city of Mariupol.
Harper stressed that Canada will target Russia with further restrictive measures if the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation, signed in Minsk following talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine last week, fail to be implemented.
The agreements stipulate a ceasefire between Kiev forces and independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine. The ceasefire came into force on February 15, but fighting continues in some parts of the region.
The West has accused Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, going as far as to claim that Russia has provided weapons to independence supporters, although no factual evidence has been presented to prove the allegation.
Moscow has repeatedly denied all Ukraine-related accusations against it and continues to urge the conflicting sides in the country's southeast to establish direct dialogue.
Meanwhile, the United States, the European Union and their allies have imposed multiple rounds of sanctions against Russia's banking, energy and military sectors, as well as against a number of high-profile individuals over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
Kiselev was among the individuals blacklisted by the European Union as part of its second wave of sanctions against Russia enforced last spring.