9 Canadian Officials Barred From Entering Russia in Retaliation for Earlier Sanctions

Nine Canadian officials were permanently barred from entering Russia in retaliation for Canada's earlier sanctions on Russian officials.

The sanctions on Canadian officials include Canada's Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti and the country's police commissioner Brenda Lucki. Canada's prior restrictions on Russian officials were over their alleged involvement in Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's imprisonment.

Russia stands open for "the development of our ties on the basis of mutual respect and with the emphasis on cooperation in areas such as the Arctic issues, relations between regions and business ties where our interests objectively converge," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a statement amid the banning of particular Canadians.

Russia's retaliation against Canada follows similar moves made toward U.S. and European officials after restrictions against Russian officials.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during the plenary session of the 24th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 4 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Saint Petersburg International Econimic Forum (SPIEF'21) is being held following last year's postponement due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Russia permanently banned nine Canadian officials from entering the country in retaliation for earlier sanctions. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Canadian officials indefinitely barred from entering Russia also include Anne Kelly, the commissioner of the country's Correctional Service.

The Russian sanctions also targeted Dominic LeBlanc, minister for intergovernmental affairs, Marci Surkes, the policy director for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jody Thomas, deputy minister of the national defense department. Also hit with Russian sanctions were Lt. Gen. Mike Rouleau of the Canadian armed forces and Rear Adm. Scott Bishop, the head of the military intelligence command, and Brian Brennan. a deputy police commissioner.

Navalny, the most determined political foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested in January upon his return from Germany where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin—accusations Russian officials reject. European labs have confirmed Navalny was poisoned.

In February, Navalny was handed a 2 1/2-year prison term on charges of violating the terms of a suspended sentence while he was in Germany. The sentence stemmed from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has condemned as politically motivated.

Russia has rejected the U.S. and the EU criticism of Navalny's imprisonment and of Russia's crackdown on protests demanding his release as meddling in its internal affairs.

The tensions over Navalny further exacerbated Russia's relations with the West, which sank to post-Cold War lows over Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, the accusations of Moscow's interference in elections and hacking attacks.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin
People work in the press center as they listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 4. Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo