Minister Joly announces additional sanctions to protect Ukrainian culture from destruction by Russia

News release

June 10, 2023 - Ottawa, Canada - Global Affairs Canada 

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is imposing additional sanctions against 24 individuals and 17 entities in Ukraine as part of the Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations. These new measures are in direct response to Russia’s attempts to destroy Ukraine’s cultural sites, institutions and identity.

In addition to the extensive damage and complete destruction of a number of Ukraine’s cultural sites, thousands of Ukrainian cultural artifacts have been found missing or reportedly stolen by Russian forces in the temporarily occupied territories since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and prior to that during the attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014. In its effort to erase Ukraine’s identity, Russia reportedly illegally exported artifacts from Ukraine, and damaged cultural heritage sites. 

With today’s announcement, Canada is sanctioning persons connected to Russia’s theft of Ukrainian cultural objects to counter the Kremlin’s efforts to "Russify" Ukraine’s culture. The list of individuals being sanctioned includes Ukrainians who work at museums and other cultural centres who collaborate with Russia. It also includes newly created entities in temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, such as the so-called ministries of education and culture, as well as individuals and entities related to private military companies that originated in Ukraine and are fighting for Russia.

As Russia tries to forcefully impose its culture and education on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, these sanctions will impose further costs on so-called authorities in areas of Ukraine illegally occupied by Russian forces in order to protect Ukrainian culture and identity.

With these sanctions, Canada reaffirms its unwavering commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine against Russia’s war of aggression while continuing to increase pressure on Russia and Ukrainians who collaborate with Russian administrations in Ukraine until they put an end to these unjustifiable attacks.


“Canada will not let Russia strip Ukraine of its cultural heritage and will do everything in its power to end the Kremlin’s war on Ukrainian identity. These intentional and targeted attacks on Ukraine’s cultural property cannot remain unpunished.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Since Russia’s illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,500 individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus,Ukraine and Moldova. Many of these sanctions have been undertaken in coordination with Canada’s allies and partners.

  • Since January 2022, Canada has committed more than $8 billion to financial, military, humanitarian, development and immigration assistance for Ukraine.

  • In response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,000 additional individuals and entities from and in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.

  • In 2022 Canada provided $4.8 million to UNESCO to protect Ukraine's cultural and heritage sites.

  • The total number of stolen artifacts is not yet known, but Ukrainian prosecutors and museum administrators have reported that Russia stole more than 15,000 pieces of fine art and one-of-a-kind artifacts while retreating from the Kherson region and surrounding areas. Two thousand artworks were also reportedly stolen from museums in temporarily occupied Mariupol.

Associated links


Maéva Proteau
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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