POLITICS

Canada adds more Russian officials to those facing economic sanctions

09/16/2014 04:36 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:54 EDT
OTTAWA - The federal government is targeting more Russian officials with sanctions and travel bans as part of its pressure campaign against president Vladimir Putin's activities in Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will send 200 election observers and a dozen members of Parliament to Ukraine next month to help monitor the country's parliamentary elections.

The announcement comes in advance of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's scheduled address to Parliament on Wednesday.

Baird is also adding four Russian military personnel to a list of those facing Canadian asset freezes and travel bans, in addition to a number of Russian companies and organizations.

Canada and other NATO member countries have not lent any military aid to Ukraine following the Russian annexation of most of the Crimean Peninsula earlier this year, and the presence of Moscow-backed militants in the eastern part of the country.

The Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine penned an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week calling on him to send military assistance to the country.

"These elections are an important step for the people of Ukraine," Baird said, "but even the most democratic elections in the world won't bring them freedom when a bully stands over them threatening their sovereignty and their territorial Ukraine."