Canada halts attempt to export banned materials to Russia

Canada has blocked an attempt to send materials to Russia in violation of sanctions imposed after invading Ukraine, an official said Tuesday.

Border officials in Montreal seized the shipment, which it described as “dual-use items” and was banned from export to Russia under Canada’s sanctions regime.

The shipment was one of more than a dozen with “suspected links to Russian facilities” that the Canada Border Services Agency said had prompted action.

The CBSA initially said it was the only seizure it could confirm under sanctions related to Ukraine, but later said it was the only one it could release details about.

It also added that the more than a dozen shipments it had traded had “suspected links to the Russian military.”

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CBSA spokeswoman Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr said the shipment was discovered and seized last month because it lacked the necessary export permits.

“The agency can confirm that it has seized a prohibited shipment destined for Russia as a result of a risk assessment and referral by CBSA anti-proliferation officials,” she said.

“The shipment was held up and the CBSA consulted experts from Global Affairs Canada who confirmed that export of a component in the shipment was prohibited.”

The item was on Canada’s Restricted Goods and Technologies List, which includes materials banned for export to Russia.

Debris of a destroyed apartment after Russian shelling in a residential area in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)


The sanctions were imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked war in neighboring Ukraine. The conflict is now approaching its sixth month.

“This CBSA seizure is positive and shows that Canada’s sanctions against Russia are being enforced,” said Marcus Kolga, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

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But he said recent reports that Italian authorities had seized a shipment of US drones from Canada bound for Russia should be investigated.

Russia urgently needs drones, as well as parts to repair Cold War weapons it has taken from storage to replace those lost in Ukraine, he said.

“Russia and some of its Western suppliers may try to circumvent sanctions and export bans to secure parts to repair weapons damaged by Ukrainian forces,” he added.

“Canadians should be reminded that Russia has a history of disrespecting international treaties and has itself violated international arms embargoes by shipping arms to regions where they have been banned.”

Priest blesses the remains of three people who died during the Russian occupation of Bucha on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti).


On Tuesday, the Canadian government placed 43 military officials and 17 organizations on its sanctions list, in part on the grounds that they were involved in war crimes in Bucha.

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“We will not allow Vladimir Putin and his aides to act with impunity,” Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a statement.

The Russian embassy in Ottawa protested the so-called “illegal and unjustifiable” sanctions in a post on its Twitter account.

The statement falsely claimed that war crimes committed by Russian forces in Bucha were “false flag operations” orchestrated by Ukraine.

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While Canada has sanctioned nearly 1,200 individuals and entities since the Russian invasion began on February 24, it has said little about enforcing those measures.

But the CBSA told Global News that its Division of Counter-Proliferation Operations is working with the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to “share information and targets.”

To help identify “exports of potential concern,” frontline officials in Canada and the US have access to each other’s intelligence bulletins, the CBSA said.

“While sanctions have been imposed on Russia and Russian companies, proliferators can use transit countries and intermediaries,” Gadbois-St-Cyr said.

“CBSA and BIS are particularly vigilant in risk assessment of exports to neighboring countries, transit countries and known Russian backers.”

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“The CBSA can confirm that since March 1, 2022 it has traded (either intercepted, sought interception by partner governments or seized) more than a dozen shipments for suspected links to Russian entities.”

The RCMP said in June it had frozen $124 million worth of Russian assets and blocked $289 million worth of Russian assets.

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