Russia Could Put Sanctions on Canada, Ambassador Says

Russia would impose economic sanctions against Canada if it targets Russian banks, affecting Canadian-based companies operating in the world’s largest nation, the Russian ambassador to Canada said.

Firms including Bombardier Inc. and Kinross Gold Corp. may be affected if Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposes sanctions against Russia’s financial institutions because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, said Georgiy Mamedov, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to Canada.

“If the Canadian government or NATO will do something crazy -- imposing some sanctions against our banks -- certainly we will have to reciprocate,” Mamedov said in an interview following a speech in Toronto today. “If it will affect Canadian transactions in Moscow, we will be sorry. But it will not be our initiative.”

Violence over the weekend is undermining an accord reached between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., and the European Union, meant to defuse the crisis in the region. The U.S. has threatened more sanctions against Russia’s banking and energy industries unless progress is made on carrying out the accord.

“We will never take any initiative to undercut Canadian business,” Mamedov said, adding “of course, never say never.”

Mamedov said Russia wants the Canadian government to be more involved in the Russia-Ukraine confrontation, rather than just being in a “shouting war.” He suggested involvement similar to the Balkans in the 1990s, when Canada’s military was a part of a United Nations peacekeeping force.

Russian officials expelled Canadian diplomat Margarita Atanasov from the country, Interfax reported today, citing an unidentified person in Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

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