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Canada could reopen Ukraine embassy imminently amid push to sell Russian assets: Joly – National


Canada’s embassy in Ukraine could reopen within a matter of days or weeks after officials shuttered it earlier this year in connection with Russia’s invasion of the sovereign democracy.

While Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said it’s not yet clear whether embassy staff would operate in the capital of Kyiv or the western city of Lviv, she said the goal is to be able to reopen imminently.

“We’re looking at several scenarios,” she told journalists in French on Wednesday morning.

That move could come amid a federal push to grant Joly new powers to seize and sell off Russian assets held in Canada in order to fund Ukraine’s recovery, and as Russia has threatened in recent days to step up targeting of “decision-making centers” in Kyiv.

Joly on Wednesday morning also announced new sanctions against more than 200 people from the eastern areas of Ukraine who support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

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In a statement, Global Affairs Canada said the new sanctions will target 11 senior officials and 192 other people supporting the invasion from within Luhansk and Donetsk, located in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

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Russian assets must be seized; accounts of sexual violence ‘chilling’: Freeland

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined plans in the budget presented earlier this month that she said will give Canada’s foreign minister the power “to cause the forfeiture and disposal of assets held by sanctioned individuals and entities to support Canada’s participation in the REPO Taskforce.”

Freeland said that it is an effort to encourage allies to take similar steps to boost their own powers, and that it complements the budget commitment of $500 million in additional military aid to Ukraine this year.

Click to play video: 'Canada pushing for seizure of Russia assets: Freeland'

Canada pushing for seizure of Russia assets: Freeland

Canada pushing for seizure of Russia assets: Freeland – Apr 10, 2022

Last month, Canada and allies formed the Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (REPO) Taskforce as part of a bid to seize and forfeit the assets and wealth of individuals backing Putin’s unprovoked invasion.

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“Right now, we can freeze assets. What we need to do is have the power to seize those assets,” Freeland said in an interview with Global’s The West Block.

“Ukraine is going to need to be rebuilt. And I can think of no more appropriate source of funding for that rebuilding than the seized assets of the Russian central bank and of Russian oligarchs.”

The government put a bill on notice on Tuesday night described as an act to implement certain provisions of the budget, and there is speculation it will include the new power to sell off Russian assets in that piece of legislation.

The soonest that legislation can be tabled is Thursday — 48 hours after it was put on notice.

Joly told journalists on Wednesday that the proposed new powers would be based on judicial orders — in other words, any bids to seize and sell Russian assets would need to be authorized by a judge.

She added the changes would give the government more powers to work with Canadian financial institutions to determine the value of Russian assets held in Canada as well, which she said is not clear.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked whether Canada has so far seized any Russian assets.

“Not that I know of,” he said in response on Wednesday.

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More to come.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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