Why Canada plans more sanctions against Russia

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is holding Russia accountable for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. He says Canada will escalate its economic sanctions against Russian individuals and companies.

Canada says it is planning to issue further economic sanctions over sectors of the Russian economy due to Russia's continuing military actions against Ukraine.

The move comes as the world reacts with shock to the downing of a Malaysian airline over eastern Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday that Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine need to withdraw from the area and allow an international team of forensic experts to investigate the crash of Flight MH17.

“All evidence indicates Russian-backed provocateurs in Ukraine” were behind the incident, Baird told reporters in London, reported CTV News

Their existence and this tragedy is a direct product of Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine. President Putin’s continued support for armed groups in eastern Ukraine constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

“The international community must now turn the screw on the pressure being applied to the Kremlin,” Baird said.

Asked whether Moscow has been orchestrating a cover-up of what really happened to Flight MH17, Baird responded: “I don’t know whether there’s direct command and control from the Kremlin for everything that’s going on in eastern Ukraine.

“The Russian Federation has to take some responsibility for the events that led up to this unspeakable crime. The Kremlin may not have pulled the trigger, but it certainly loaded the gun and put it in the murderer’s hand.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also issued a statement Monday saying the shooting down of MH17 is a direct result of Russia's military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine.

Canada has so far imposed sanctions against 110 individuals and entities considered to be responsible for violating Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

Russian billionaires lost more than $14.5 billion since the beginning of this year, while their American counterparts grew $56 billion richer, reports Bloomberg, looking at the impact of economic sanctions on Russia's wealthiest.

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