02/18/2015 09:07 EST | Updated 04/20/2015 05:59 EDT

Ukraine conflict: Russia rebuffs new Canadian sanctions as 'lame'

Russia has rebuffed Canada's new sanctions against Moscow, calling them a "lame attempt" to prevent implementation of the eastern Ukrainian ceasefire agreement.

"We all hope that Ottawa will think about the consequences of its actions, which in reality further fuel an armed confrontation in Ukraine, and that it will realize the futility of pressuring Russia through sanctions," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.

On Tuesday, in response to what Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the "escalated acts of aggression" by Russian-backed fighters in Eastern Ukraine, Canada announced travel bans against 37 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and economic sanctions against 17 Russian and Ukrainian entities, including leading Russian oil firm NK Rosneft OAO.

"Canada's position remains clear: We recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and will never recognize the illegal Russian occupation of any part of the country," Harper said in a statement.

Canada has made about a dozen such announcements since the Russian military began to intervene in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine in February 2014.

The Ukraine ceasefire deal went into effect on Sunday, but heavy fighting continued in the embattled rail hub of Debaltseve.

However, Ukraine's president said Wednesday he had ordered troops to pull out of the town, while Russian-backed separatists said they had taken hundreds of prisoners.