Amid ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine and concerns about Russia’s military build-up along the border, Ottawa is set to deploy a Hercules transport plane loaded with military supplies to the troubled region, CTV News has learned.

The supplies will not include ammunition, but equipment to support Ukrainian troops on the ground. The deployment on Thursday is expected to be the first in a series of flights.

News of the military shipment comes as Canada announced additional sanctions and travel bans against Russian and Ukrainian individuals and groups.

“The Putin regime’s continued illegal occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and its provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine remains a grave concern to Canada and the international community,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement Wednesday.

The individuals added to the sanctions list include a Russian security service commander, the CEO of the Bank of Russia, business figures and members of Russia’s security council. Also on the list is Sergey Abisov, a minister in the newly annexed Republic of Crimea.

National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Ottawa is targeting people who are raising funds to “support the illegal activity that’s taking place” and are involved in the political process related to the crisis in Ukraine.

The entities affected by the new sanctions include the Bank of Moscow, the Russian National Commercial Bank and a distillery plant in Crimea.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts to put pressure on the Putin regime to stop their illegal occupation of Ukraine,” Nicholson told CTV News Channel Wednesday.

He said Canada is working “in close concert” with the U.S. and the European Union, which have imposed their own sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered restrictions Wednesday on food and agriculture imports from countries that have imposed sanctions on his country. The decree signed by Putin doesn’t name specific countries, but says imports will be banned or limited for one year.

Intense fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, with air strikes and artillery fire reported Wednesday in and around the city of Donetsk.

The violence prompted a warning from the Polish prime minister Wednesday, who said the threat of a “direct intervention” in Ukraine by Russia is now greater than in recent weeks.

Concerns over possible Russian invasion

In a statement to CTV, NATO warned that as the death toll rises on both sides, Russian President Vladimir Putin could find a convenient excuse to invade.

“Russia could use the pretext of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine,” said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu.

U.S. President Barack Obama isn’t ruling out diplomatic efforts, but told reporters Wednesday that if there is an invasion by Russia, “that’s obviously a different set of questions. We’re not there yet.”

In an editorial to the Financial Times Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned against Putin’s behaviour, and called on allies to pull their weight against Russia in advance of a meeting next month.

Rasmussen is set to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Thursday in Kyiv. He has no plans to travel to Russia.

Despite continued chaos in the region, Nicholson said he believes that Canadian and international sanctions will make a difference.

“We are confident that the continuous pressure we are applying to the Putin regime will succeed,” he said.

With files from The Associated Press

Expanded sanctions list:

Individuals (Russian)

  • Sergei Orestovoch Beseda, Commander of the Fifth Service of the Russian Federal Security Service and Commander of the Service for Operational Information and International Communications of the Russian Federal Security Service.
  • Aleksandr Vasilievich Bortnikov, permanent member of the Russian Federation’s Security Council and Director of the Russian Federal Security Service.
  • Mikhail Vladimirovich Degtyarev, member of the State Duma.
  • Mikhail Efimovich Fradkov, permanent member of the Russian Federation’s Security Council and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service.
  • Boris Vyacheslavovich Gryzlov, permanent member of the Russian Federation’s Security Council.
  • Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov, President of the Republic of Chechnya.
  • Vladimir Georgyevich Kulishov, First Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Security Service, Chief of the Border Guards.
  • Konstantin Valerevich Malofeev, Russian business figure and financier of secessionist groups in Ukraine.
  • Rashid Gumarovich Nurgaliev, permanent member and Deputy Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council.
  • Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev, permanent member and Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council.
  • Nikolay Terentievich Shamalov, CEO and majority shareholder of Bank Rossiya.
  • Igor Shchegolev, aide to the President of the Russian Federation and the former Minister of Communications and Mass Media.
  • Alexander Nikolayevich Tkachyov, Governor of Krasnodar Krai.
  • Valerii Yuriovych Travkin, officer in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Individuals (Ukrainian)

  • Sergey Abisov, “Minister of Interior” of the “Republic of Crimea.”
  • Pavel Yurevich Gubarev, one of the self-described leaders of the so called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
  • Ekaterina Yurevna Gubareva, so called “Minister of Foreign Affairs” of the “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
  • Boris Litvinov, Chairman of the “Supreme Council” of the so called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
  • Oksana Tchigrina, spokesperson of the so called “government” of the ”Luhansk People’s Republic.”

Entities (Russian)

  • Bank of Moscow
  • Dobrolet (Dobrolyot) Airlines
  • Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank)
  • Russian National Commercial Bank
  • United Shipbuilding Corporation
  • VTB Bank OAO (former Vneshtorgbank)

Entities (Ukrainian)

  • “Army of the Southeast”
  • “Crimean enterprise ‘Azov distillery plant’”
  • “Donbass People’s Militia”
  • “Federal State of Novorossiya”
  • “International Union of Public Associations ‘Great Don Army’”
  • “Luhansk Guard”
  • “Resort ‘Nizhnyaya Oreanda’”
  • “Sobol
  • “State concern ‘National Association of producers Massandra’
  • “State enterprise ‘Factory of sparkling wine Novy Svet’”
  • “State enterprise ‘Kerch commercial seaport’”
  • “State enterprise ‘Magarach of the national institute of wine’
  • “State enterprise ‘Sevastopol commercial seaport’”
  • “State enterprise ‘Universal-Avia’”
  • “State ferry enterprise ‘Kerch Ferry’”
  • “Vostok battalion”