Minister Joly announces new sanctions related to Russia’s illegal elections in occupied territories of Ukraine

News release

December 12, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is imposing new sanctions against 30 Russian nationals under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations.

These sanctions are being imposed on individuals who ran as candidates in the sham Kremlin-organized “elections” held on September 8 to 10, 2023, in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The individuals put forward their candidacies in the illegal election for various positions in the temporarily occupied parts of Kherson Oblast in southern Ukraine, including for a regional legislative assembly that the Russian occupiers call a “Duma.”

These so-called elections are yet another violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as of the United Nations Charter. By running for these “official” public positions in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, these individuals aimed to legitimize Russia’s illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine by enabling the imposition of Russian law, media, education and currency to “Russify” Ukrainians who remain in the territories under occupation.

Canada will continue to work with its international partners to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable attacks on its sovereignty and to protect its citizens from the oppressive Russian regime.


“We continue to condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine. Russia had absolutely no legitimate basis to hold elections in these territories. Today, we are sending a strong message to the Kremlin to remind them that Canada will never recognize these regions as Russian territory.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Since 2014, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,800 individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova who are complicit in the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Many of these sanctions have been implemented in coordination with Canada’s allies and partners.

  • On September 12, 2023, G7 foreign ministers issued a joint statement condemning the staging of sham “elections” held by Russia on sovereign Ukrainian territory in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Crimea.

  • In October 2022, 143 states voted at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia’s attempted illegal annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory, reaffirming that no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.

  • Since January 2022, Canada has committed more than $9.7 billion to financial, military, humanitarian, development and immigration assistance for Ukraine.

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Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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