by Al Jazeera
Canada’s move to impose sanctions on 30 Russian officials was “senseless and reprehensible” and has led to retaliatory measures, Russian officials said.
Canada announced the sanctions on Friday against Russian officials it accused of complicity in the death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 while he was in prison after alleging state tax fraud.
Kirill Kalinin, a spokesman for the Russian diplomatic mission in Ottawa, told the official TASS news agency late on Friday retaliatory actions against Canadians had already been set in motion.
“Canada’s decision on extending anti-Russian sanctions under a false pretext of a hypocritical protection of human rights is absolutely senseless and reprehensible,” said Kalinin.
Ottawa’s move “is isolating itself from one of the key global powers” and “pushes Canada’s foreign policy back to the narrow black-and-white worldview, incompatible with modern geopolitics”, he added.
“Dozens of Canadians” have now been barred from entering Russia in response, Kalinin said, without specifying who would be affected.
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed “the list is long, with dozens of names on it”.
The foreign ministry said in a statement those targeted are “Russophobic Canadian citizens who have consistently worked to destroy bilateral relations.”
In 2008, the whistleblower Magnitsky accused Russian interior ministry officials of organising a $235m tax scam, but he was then charged with the crimes he claimed to have uncovered. Human rights groups allege he was beaten in prison before he died under unclear circumstances.
His detention and death ignited serious diplomatic tensions between Russia and some western countries, including the United States.
Canada last month passed a Sergei Magnitsky Law, which targets Russian officials for human rights violations. Ottawa followed the Magnitsky Act passed by the US that led to sanctions on more than 40 Russian officials.