Canada announces sanctions against officials of justice and security sectors

News release

August 18, 2023 - Ottawa, Canada - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is imposing new sanctions against 15 Russian individuals and 3 entities under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations in response to the rising levels of human rights violations and state-sponsored violence faced by political opponents and critics as Russia attempts to repress internal dissent.

The sanctioned individuals and entities are senior officials of the Russian government, judiciary and investigative committee, as well as federally funded courts, including the notorious Basmanny District Court, which have been directly involved in human rights abuses against Russian opposition leaders, including Vladimir Kara-Murza, Alexei Navalny and other Russian citizens.

Mr. Kara-Murza, a Russian politician, author, journalist and human rights defender, was the victim of 2 poisoning attempts orchestrated by the Kremlin and has been imprisoned in Moscow since April 2022 for his activism in support of human rights and freedom of speech and for speaking out against the war in Ukraine. In 2020, Mr. Navalny, a prominent opposition figure, Kremlin critic and founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, was also poisoned on Moscow’s orders during a domestic flight, which required months of recovery in a German hospital. Following his return to Russia in January 2021, Mr. Navalny was immediately imprisoned and has since received multiple prison sentences as a result of his opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The Putin regime has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to use all means possible to silence political opponents and critics and to violently repress internal dissent. This has been particularly true since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, as a wave of domestic repression against anti-war protests and criticism and the control of the information flow regarding the war have allowed the Kremlin to continue to commit countless atrocities against Ukrainian civilians.

By imposing these sanctions, Canada, in coordination with the United Kingdom and the United States, is placing further costs on Russian officials in the justice and security sectors who are engaged in these human rights abuses and who are complicit in Vladimir Putin’s unjustifiable and illegal war in Ukraine.


“Canada continues to condemn the Kremlin’s ongoing and systematic human rights abuses, which have supported Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. We call on Vladimir Putin to immediately put an end to these abuses and to end his illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Since 2014, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,600 individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova that are complicit in the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Many of these sanctions have been undertaken in coordination with Canada’s allies and partners.

  • Canada welcomed a recent report from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights concluding that repression inside Russia and war outside it are connected to each other. The report also demonstrates a clear connection between the wave of repressive measures in Russia leading up to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as well as afterward.

  • International and local human rights groups cite multiple reports of mistreatment committed by the Russian justice system, law enforcement and correctional bodies, including physical abuse of detainees at the hands of the police, torture or severe mistreatment of inmates in prison colonies, and detention of individuals for associating with opposition organizations.

  • Mr. Kara-Murza had his 25-year sentence for trumped-up treason charges upheld by the Moscow District Court on July 31, 2023. On August 4, 2023, Mr. Navalny was sentenced to an additional 19 years in prison on new charges.

  • These sanctions align with Canada’s policies and objectives to maintain pressure on Russia to end its illegal war in Ukraine while respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

Associated links


Emily Williams
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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