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Canada imposes new sanctions over Russia’s role in Ukraine crisis

People walk past the Russian Agricultural Bank in Moscow on July 30, 2014. Tougher economic sanctions by the European Union and the U.S. have targeted three Russian banks: the Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank and VTB Bank, Russia's second largest bank.

Ivan Sekretarev/AP

Canada has slapped fresh economic sanctions and travel bans on some Russian and Ukrainian groups and individuals.

In addition to VTB Bank OAO , Russia's second-largest bank by assets, Canada targeted Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank). The United States imposed sanctions on all three banks last Wednesday to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

Another Canadian target is the Russian National Commercial Bank, the assets of which were frozen by the EU last week.

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The sanctions and bans come amid reports Russia is massing thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border.

The measures, aimed at some 19 people and 22 groups and banks, follow previous sanctions and travel bans by Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine is a "grave concern" to Canada and the world.

Canada is prepared to take further actions if Russian President Vladimir Putin's government continues its military aggression, Harper said in a statement.

"President Putin has not provided any indication that he is prepared to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity or use his control over Russian-backed agents to end the violence in Ukraine," he said.

"On the contrary, reports indicate that, despite the criminal downing of MH17, Russia continues to provide logistical support and sophisticated weapons to its agents in eastern Ukraine."

Canada also took aim at low-cost Russian air carrier Dobrolyot, which said on Sunday it was suspending all flights after the European Union announced punitive measures against it last week.

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Ottawa has so far not sanctioned two key Putin allies who have Canadian business interests.

Last month, all 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, were killed when the aircraft was shot down over contested territory in eastern Ukraine.

Fighting is still raging in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Western leaders have accused Russia of building up forces along the border – a claim Russia denies.

With a file from Reuters

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