OTTAWA, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Canadian government officials said Tuesday Ukrainian officials responsible for heavy-handed suppression of protesters in Kiev are not welcome in the country.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said "effective immediately" Canada would restrict entry of "Ukraine's ruling elite" deemed "responsible for the oppression and silencing of opposition voices," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
"Canada continues to stand with the Ukrainian people as they defiantly and courageously speak out in support of freedom and democracy," Alexander said.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird warned further sanctions were possible if the situation in Ukraine didn't improve.
"I think this is an important step. We'll obviously continue to follow it and increase action if and when it is required," Baird said "This is not a final step for Canada, this is just another process in our engagement and support of freedom and prosperity in Ukraine."
Liberals are calling for the government to exert more pressure on Kiev by freezing Ukrainian asset.
The CBC said Liberal shadow cabinet member John McCallum called the action by Ottawa "meaningless."
"Canada should send a strong message," McCallum told the CBC in a telephone interview.
Canada's action came the same day Ukraine's prime minister resigned and the Ukrainian Parliament voted to repeal its anti-protest law.