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Canada must sanction Vladimir Putin's oligarchs: Alexei Navalny's chief of staff

Last Updated May 6, 2021 at 3:14 pm MDT

FILE - This file photo provided by Leonid Volkov’s Twitter account on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, shows him with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, right, in Germany. Navalny flew back to Russia on Jan. 17 after recovering in Germany from a poisoning with a nerve agent that he blames on Russian authorities. A Moscow court on Wednesday, Feb. 10, ordered the arrest of Volkov, a Navalny ally who lives in Lithuania, but the government in Vilnius has rejected the demand. (Leonid Volkov via AP, File)

OTTAWA — The chief of staff to Alexei Navalny, the imprisoned critic of the Russian president, is calling on Ottawa to impose new sanctions on those who he described as “Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs.” 

Leonid Volkov told members of a parliamentary committee that freezing the assets of Putin’s friends would build leverage for western leaders, so they have stronger positions when putting pressure on the Russian president. 

Volkov says Putin was personally offended by Navalny’s investigation into a luxurious palace he was building, so he ordered his agents to poison the critic in August 2020. 

He says Navalny was arrested in the airport on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the poisoning, and he has been in prison since then. 

Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau announced sanctions against nine Russian officials in March to put pressure on senior figures in the government involved in Navalny’s poisoning, his subsequent prosecution, and the silencing of citizens who protested his treatment.

Volkov says he is ready to provide the parliamentary foreign affairs committee with a list of 35 names of Putin’s close friends who hold his assets. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press