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Ottawa asks business executives not to travel to Russia

International Trade Minister Ed Fast is shown in Ottawa on Oct. 25, 2012.

SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal government is discouraging business executives from travelling to Russia in a new move designed to further isolate the Putin regime over its efforts to destabilize Ukraine.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast in particular is calling on business officials to refrain from attending high-profile events in Russia such as the World Petroleum Congress taking place in Moscow in June.

Other meetings Mr. Fast called on Canadians to avoid include the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, taking place this month, and the Innoprom industrial exhibition, scheduled for July in Yekaterinburg.

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"We encourage Canadian senior business executives to refrain from attending high-profile events in Russia," Mr. Fast said in a statement.

"Canada is determined to support Ukraine and will continue to work with our allies and like-minded countries to apply pressure that will further isolate Russia economically and politically, until the Putin regime clearly demonstrates its respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Mr. Fast said in a statement.

The Canadian trade minister's remarks follow Ottawa's opposition announced last week to allowing Russia to join the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, an exclusive global forum of 34 countries.

Earlier this year Russia seized Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula region of Crimea and the West believes Moscow is behind pro-Kremlin separatist rebels who have taken control of cities in eastern Ukraine.

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