Canada is sanctioning seven people with ties to Moldova whom Ottawa has deemed to be “Russian collaborators,” along with a minor political party in the eastern European country.
The new sanctions target the Shor Party and its founder, as well as oligarchs, business people and politicians Canada says are connected to Russia.
The move follows Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s visit to Ottawa last month, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada would soon be sanctioning people living in Moldova for ties to Russia.
Sandu has said that her government is being threatened by “hybrid warfare generated by Russia” and Ukraine says it uncovered a Russian plot to overthrow her government.
Among those facing bans on travel and financial dealings are three former politicians accused of laundering Russian money, who Britain is now considering extraditing from London.
Canada is also targeting Marina Tauber, a sitting member of Parliament in Moldova who was arrested by anticorruption officials last month for allegedly trying to flee the country.
Also sanctioned is Vladimir Plahotniuc, a former politician residing outside Moldova who has been accused by Washington and Moldovan courts of fraud and manipulating law enforcement to target opponents.
Moldova, which is roughly the size of Vancouver Island, is among the poorest countries in Europe.
Since before the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, an area along the border with Ukraine comprising about 10 per cent of Moldovan territory has claimed independence, and Russian troops have occupied the region called Transnistria since 1992.
Also Thursday, the House foreign-affairs committee is hearing from bureaucrats from across the federal government on Canada’s sanctions regime following concerns from MPs and senators that the system lacks transparency and might not be effective.
The Canadian Press