Russia sanctioned a raft of Canadian public figures on Friday including Maj.-Gen. Michael Wright, head of Canadian Forces Intelligence Command, and the pastor who officiated the first gay marriages in Canada.
Moscow’s latest round of sanctions target multiple staff of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and is of Ukrainian heritage.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly’s media team, Maeva Proteau and Adrien Blanchard, are also banned from entering Russia.
Also on the Kremlin list are Ian Scott, head of broadcasting regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which this year banned the Russian state-owned broadcaster RT from Canada’s airwaves, and retired general Rick Hillier, former chief of the defence staff.
Russia has also sanctioned pastor Brent Hawkes, the LGBTQ activist who officiated Canada’s first legal gay marriages, and Juno-award winning singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, who is of Ukrainian and Indigenous heritage.
The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement it’s taking the steps in response to Canadian sanctions, including those against Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, which the ministry said was an insult to Orthodox believers around the world.
Hawkes said it was “an honour to be included on a list of such courageous Canadians.”
“I am concerned for the LGBTQ community in places like Russia, Ukraine and Afghanistan,” he said. “It shows that we have a lot of work to do.”
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