Canada joins allies in sanctioning Russian president, foreign minister

Trudeau says pair responsible for ‘death and destruction ' in Ukraine.

Canada joins allies in sanctioning Russian president, foreign minister

Canada lined up with its allies Friday to enact personal sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the "death and destruction" caused by a military operation in Ukraine.

“These men bear the greatest responsibility for the death and destruction occurring in Ukraine,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference.

"The world is witnessing the horrors of President Putin's war of choice,” he said. “It is an atrocity for Ukraine's over 40 million innocent citizens, and for the world."

Trudeau's announcement brings Canada into the fold with the European Union, the UK and the US. The latter three enacted sanctions against Putin and Lavrov earlier Friday.

It is also the third of "severe coordinated sanctions" levied by Canada and its allies, Trudeau noted, adding that, "this is a significant step and it has its impact in the fact that we are all, as Western countries, united and aligned on this."

Trudeau also took aim at Belarus, which held joint military exercises with Russian forces. Operations from Ukraine's northern border were launched from Belarus. Sanctions will be struck against 57 Belarusian individuals.

He also called for the use of financial firepower against Russia, urging its removal from SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the banking system based in Brussels that is responsible for handling many international monetary transactions.

"Excluding Russian banks from SWIFT will make it even more difficult for President Putin to finance his brutalities," said Trudeau.

In a statement from Global Affairs Canada obtained by Anadolu Agency, senior Cabinet member Harjit Sajjan also announced that the government would match donations dollar-for-dollar for Ukrainian relief from Canadians up to CAN$10 million ($7.9 million).

"This funding is in addition to the CAN$50 million ($39 million) in funding for development and humanitarian aid that Canada has recently announced and the CAN$620 million ($488 million) in sovereign loans that Canada has recently offered Ukraine," the statement read.