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Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly delivers a speech during a session of the UN Human Rights Council, following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, in Geneva, on Feb. 28.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s foreign minister told a United Nations panel in Europe on Monday that Russia lied to the world in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly also called on Moscow to respect the rights of Russian people who have taken to the streets to protest their government’s decision to invade Ukraine.

“Russia is the only one to blame for this crisis. It chose to resort to lies and violence and fabricate all the pieces of a crisis to try and undermine the rule of law and violate the rights of people,” Joly said.

“Worse, they’re trying to justify their war by spreading a false rhetoric and attempting to manipulate the principles of human rights to support their illegal and illegitimate violence.”

She delivered the denunciation of President Vladimir Putin today at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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Joly condemned the arrests of Russian citizens who have protested the war in demonstrations across their country.

“We call on Russia to respect the human rights not only of Ukrainians, but also of its own citizens, who by thousands have taken the streets in protest of this unjust war.”

Joly was in Geneva as Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for talks earlier in the day in an attempt to defuse the biggest land conflict on the continent since the Second World War.

Outmatched Ukrainian forces were holding off the onslaught of a land, air and sea attack by Russia as Putin raised the stakes further by placing his country’s nuclear forces on alert.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Monday an immediate ban on all Canadian financial institutions from conducting transactions with the Russian Central Bank.

In addition to that prohibition, Canada is imposing an asset freeze and a dealings prohibition on Russian sovereign wealth funds.

“Canada and its allies continue to take concerted action to ensure that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure. This has never been done before at this scale – today we are taking a historic step by directly censuring Russia’s central bank,” Freeland said in a written statement.

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