Canada closes ports to Russian ships due to invasion of Ukraine

Cargo ships with their shipping containers are seen at the Port of Montreal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 6, 2021. REUTERS/Christine Moshe/File Photo

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TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada stepped up pressure on Russia on Tuesday for its invasion of Ukraine by closing ports to Russian-owned ships and saying the holdings of all Russian oligarchs and companies in the country were under review.

Canada announced a set of measures to isolate Russia, including imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, closing Canadian airspace to Russian aircraft, banning oil imports, and preventing Canadian financial institutions from doing business with the Russian Central Bank, in parallel with other Western countries. . Read more

Ottawa has expanded its crude oil import ban to include refined petroleum products and “other petroleum products from Russia,” the country’s natural resources minister said on Twitter Tuesday night.

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Earlier, Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghubra said that while the number of Russian ships entering Canadian waters and ports is “negligible”, there is still an impact, especially with other countries doing the same.

A port spokesperson said Russia accounts for less than 2% of Montreal’s annual container volumes, and the ban would have little commercial impact.

The Port of Vancouver, Canada’s busiest ship, said the number of Russian-flagged ships it connects to is very small. A spokesman for them said that in the past they traded crude oil, canola oil and copper concentrates.

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A government official told Reuters that Canada is tracking three Russian-flagged ships off the east coast, one of which is a cargo ship.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Tuesday that Canada is also scrutinizing the holdings of all Russian oligarchs and companies in the country. “We are reviewing it and everything is on the table,” she added.

Canada is sending 1,600 flak jackets and about 400,000 food rations to Ukraine.

Statistics Canada data showed that Canada imported C$2.14 billion ($1.68 billion) worth of goods from Russia in 2021, with minerals and metals among the most valuable categories. The agency said it imported C$289 million worth of Russian energy products last year.

(1 dollar = 1.2738 Canadian dollars)

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(Alexander Schumer reports from Toronto). Additional reporting by Alison Lambert in Montreal, Julie Gordon and Steve Shearer in Ottawa and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg. Editing by Jonathan Otis, Grant McCall and Sandra Maller

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