Russia’s ambassador to Canada, Oleg Stepanov, says the threat of Western sanctions in response to military build-up along the Ukraine border is of no importance.
In an interview on CTV news channel’s Power Play with host Ivan Solomon on Thursday, Stepanov said the new sanctions likely will not affect the country’s future actions.
“Sanctions never work and sanctions will never work against countries like [a] nation as Russia. Russia’s attempt to use sanctions as a threat to take certain steps in the international arena is just an illusion,” he said.
“Indeed, in Russia and the Russian government, and I can tell you frankly, no one cares about Western sanctions anymore… because they don’t work and they don’t bite, they have no real effect or produce no practical results.”
Canada, as well as other NATO allies, have insisted that any further incursions by Russian troops into Ukraine would have “serious consequences” and sanctions.
The Canadian government has not been able to explain what those restrictions will be.
Global Affairs reports that Canada has targeted more than 440 individuals and entities related to Russia since 2014, when its military forcibly occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
The US Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Thursday against four Ukrainian officials, including two current members of parliament, which administration officials say are part of a Russian influence effort to set up excuses for further invasion of Ukraine.
Stepanov said Russia has “no desire” to invade Ukraine, adding that the gathering of about 100,000 troops along the border is part of “regular exercises” in its own territory.
“Russia can do anything on its territory and of course we will never take our troops into our territory at the behest of foreign countries,” he said.
US President Joe Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a final decision about a full-scale attack, adding, “My guess is that he will proceed.”
The United States and Britain have started sending weapons to Ukraine for self-defense purposes.
While in Ukraine this week, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Jolie said Canada would make a decision on whether to send weapons “in a timely manner”.
As part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada sends a group of about 200 Canadian Armed Forces members to Ukraine every six months. The focus of the operation is to aid training in coordination with the US and other countries that provide that level of support.
On the mission, Stepanov said Russia has “many concerns” about it, but it is a “sovereign decision” by Canada.
Retired Canadian Major-General. David Fraser, a former commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, denied Stepanov’s claims that the sanctions do not work in a later interview on CTV news channel’s Power Play.
“If you look at history, sanctions really work. Look at what they’ve done to Iran and let’s not forget that the $1.3 trillion Russian economy – Texas has a big economy, Canada has a big economy , so the sanctions will work against Russia,” he said.
Fraser said it was a political problem that needed a political solution.
“We can’t do anything militarily… we matter on the political side of the House and we have to find a political solution and that’s where the restrictions are.” [come in],” They said.
With a file from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press.