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Canada, allies start penalizing Russia for breaching Ukrainian border

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United States President Joe Biden (C) walks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) at the White House in Washington, D.C., in November. On Tuesday, they worked in conjunction to impose sanctions against Russia. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e80eae5065e709a1e94b4f0b5e8776db/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
United States President Joe Biden (C) walks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) at the White House in Washington, D.C., in November. On Tuesday, they worked in conjunction to impose sanctions against Russia. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Canada on Tuesday joined a growing list of countries that have moved to levy sanctions against Russia after the Russian Federation Council unanimously ratified agreements to recognize the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent and to give them support of Russian military "peacekeepers."

The treaty sought to solidify the relationship between the Kremlin and the regions, which have been dominated by Russian separatists that have fought an eight-year war with the Ukraine military.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced sanctions against Russia during a Tuesday afternoon press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland by his side.

The Liberal Party leader condemned Russia's recognition of the Russia-backed breakaway regions as a violation of Russia's obligations under international law and the charter of the United Nations while rebuking the deployment of troops to them.

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"Make no mistake: This is a further invasion of a sovereign state and it is completely unacceptable," Trudeau said.

President Vladimir Putin announced the decision to recognize the two states in a speech Monday that Trudeau denounced for not only being inaccurate but for containing "dangerous misinformation."

Trudeau said the first round of economic sanctions against Russia was done in conjunction with allies and included banning Canadians from all financial dealings with Donetsk and Lugansk as well as sanction members of the Russian parliament who voted to recognize them as republics.

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Canadians will also be banned from purchasing Russian sovereign debt and additional sanctions will be imposed against two Russian-state banks, he said.

"These sanctions are a major step and target those responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and they will remain in place until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored," he said.

Canada will also deploy an additional 460 troops to Eastern Europe to bolster NATO Forces. A naval frigate will also be deployed.

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"Today's actions are only the first step," said Freeland. "The measures that Canada and our allies have been preparing will be sustained and they will bite. The economic costs to Russia will be severe."

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The move by Canada came as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he has pulled out of the certifying process for the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that was supposed to be a financial boon for Russia. The pipeline, which now sits idle, would have sent natural gas from Russia via the Baltic Sea to Germany.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed the House of Commons that Britain will place sanctions on five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals in what he called the "first barrage" of penalties against Moscow.

U.S. President Joe Biden said, though, Putin's action did not trigger a broad package of sanctions that Washington threatened Moscow with for invading Ukraine. He is expected to announce more sanctions on Tuesday afternoon.

The European Union said it was considering a range of sanctions as well on Tuesday.

"The decision of the Russian Federation to recognize as independent entities and send Russian troops to certain areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts is illegal and unacceptable," said a joint statement from the commission President Ursula von der Leyen Charles Michel, president of the European Council.

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"It violates international law, Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, Russia's own international commitments and it further escalates the crisis."

The United States and several other members of the United Nations Security Council late Monday condemned Russia's recognition of two separatist states in eastern Ukraine as independent, ratcheting up tensions between Moscow and the West.

Putin has said Russia has historical claims to the territories, which Ukraine and other nations have rejected.

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sought to characterize Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as "unstable" and a person who would escalate tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

"Everything could be expected from him," Lavrov said, according to the state-run news agency TASS. "This is an unstable, dependent man, directly dependent on his American curators."

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