Canada Sanctions 9 Russian Officials Over Navalny Jailing

Canada on Wednesday slapped new sanctions against nine Russian officials in response to «gross» rights violations and silencing of Kremlin critics including Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned and jailed.

The measure follows similar actions taken earlier this month by the European Union and the United States.

«The Russian government has repeatedly shown its unwillingness to respect the basic rights of its own people,» Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement.

He said Canada and its allies will continue to increase pressure on Moscow to release Navalny — a central figure of Russia’s opposition movement who survived a near-fatal poisoning with a Novichok nerve agent last year — and his supporters «who have been unlawfully detained.»

«Russia’s gross human rights violations will not go unanswered,» he said.

Navalny was immediately detained after returning in January from treatment in Germany, drawing widespread Western condemnation, with the U.S. and EU calling for his release.

The anti-corruption crusader was sentenced the following month and is now serving a two-and-a-half-year jail term in a penal colony outside Moscow for violating parole while abroad.

The Canadian sanctions target Russian federal security service (FSB) director Alexander Bortnikov; Igor Krasnov, the government’s chief lawyer who prosecuted Navalny; head of prisons Alexander Kalashnikov; as well as senior staff in President Vladimir Putin’s office and defense officials.

2 Navalny Allies Missing Day After Opening Regional Office

Two allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have gone missing the day after opening a campaign office in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, the office’s Twitter account said Monday.

Sunday’s low-key opening in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala follows an abandoned attempt in February, when the then-regional campaign manager was assaulted hours after Navalny’s team first announced their plans.

“Yesterday we opened a headquarters in Makhachkala, and today our coordinator Eduard Atayev disappeared,” Navalny’s office said.

A regional election observer added that Atayev’s assistant Murad Manapov has also gone missing after leaving his home.

Local police denied detaining the two men, Ruslan Ablyakimov, who fled Dagestan after he was attacked after the announced opening in February, said on Monday evening.

Navalny’s office in the Muslim-majority region is part of a wider expansion of its network of 37 offices ahead of key parliamentary elections this fall where his team hopes to block the pro-Kremlin party’s supermajority.

“The capital of Dagestan is the largest Russian city where we have never had a headquarters,” senior Navalny aide Leonid Volkov, who fled Russia in 2019 when authorities opened a criminal money-laundering probe against Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote last month.

“There is strong disaffection in Makhachkala and I know the opening of our headquarters is eagerly awaited there.”

Navalny is serving two and a half years on old fraud charges in a prison colony described as one of Russia’s harshest.

He was jailed upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he spent months recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with what European experts and the global chemical weapons watchdog determined was the Novichok nerve agent.

Navalny, 44, announced he was starting a hunger strike on March 31 to demand proper medical treatment for severe back pain and leg numbness.

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