Russia announced on Friday that it is banning 62 Canadians from entering its territory, including political and military officials, priests and journalists, in response to recent Canadian sanctions targeting Russian individuals.
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The decision was taken “in light of the particularly hostile nature of (Canadian) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s regime and in response to “actions aimed at insulting not only the multiethnic and multifaith people of Russia, but also the surrounding Orthodox believers,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained in a press release.
Canada has imposed a series of sanctions on Moscow in recent months over the Ukrainian conflict, which have particularly targeted the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
Those approved by Russia have distinguished themselves by harmful activities in the struggle against the “Russian world” and traditional Russian values, warranting the declaration of Russian diplomacy.
The list includes Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Adrian Blanchard, Catholic priest and editor of the journal Convivum, Raymond J. De Souza, along with Canadian Armed Forces Intelligence Commander Michael Charles Wright. Several advisers include Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and LGBT activist Brent Hawkes.
On February 24, Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine. The attack sparked unprecedented Western sanctions against Moscow, which retaliated with similar measures.