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Russian ambassador to Canada calls new sanctions 'meaningless'

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Russia's ambassador to Canada is calling new sanctions by the Canadian government "meaningless, just like all previous measures of this kind."

"We don't interfere in Canada's affairs and kindly advise Trudeau's cabinet to act in the same manner," Oleg Stepanov said in an email to CTV News on Friday.

Asked if Moscow will respond, Stepanov replied, "I refrain for now from predicting the essence of the response. It can be symmetrical and/or asymmetrical."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly announced a new round of sanctions on 10 individuals and 153 Russian entities Friday, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine is set to pass the two-year mark on Saturday.

Canada announced the sanctions in a news release, in co-ordination with the United Kingdom and the United States.

Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov. (CTV News)

"These sanctions target individuals and entities who support the Russian military through finance, logistics and sanctions evasion," the press release said.

"The individuals listed include an aide to President Putin as well as senior officials of private and state-owned companies registered in Russia and Cyprus."

The announcement also includes a prohibition on the export to Russia of designated goods that could be used to make weapons and serve its war against Ukraine.

"We will continue to use disruptive measures against the Russian government, targeting its ability to wage its illegal war until Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored," Joly said in the statement.

Ottawa summoned Stepanov on Wednesday following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny while in custody.

After reports of Navalny's death surfaced, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to the opposition leader's family and described him as someone who was "standing up with extraordinary courage for a better future for Russia and Russians.

Stepanov says being summoned came as a surprise.

While Russian-Canadian relations could "obviously" be better, he says he believes Trudeau's cabinet is "meticulously destroying them."

"Such course is very counterproductive and detrimental to Canada's core interests. But it's their choice, not ours."

Canada's Foreign Minister Melanie Joly speaks to the media during a press conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Correction

A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed a statement to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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