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Putin's ex-wife not immune from Canadian sanctions: foreign affairs minister's office

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Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a meeting of the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP

OTTAWA — Canada has not ruled out imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, says the foreign affairs minister’s spokesman.  

The Russian president's ex-wife, who divorced him in 2014, is the mother of his two adult daughters who have already been sanctioned by Canada. 

Mélanie Joly said last week that Putin's alleged girlfriend Alina Kabaeva, an Olympic gold medallist in rhythmic gymnastics, is not immune from Canadian sanctions.

The United Kingdom has already imposed sanctions on Kabaeva and Putin's former wife, as well as relatives of the Russian President. 

Canada is currently preparing a fresh list of sanctions against Putin's inner circle and plans to continue financial penalties to increase pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,400 entities and people, including Russian oligarchs and allies of Putin in Belarus.

Joly’s spokesman Adrien Blanchard said no members of Putin's inner circle are ruled out for future sanctions, and the goal is to ensure there are no loopholes.

Experts have expressed concerns that Putin and his allies may try to get around the financial penalties by hiding assets with individuals who are not sanctioned. 

"In terms of new sanctions, all options remain on the table," he said. "Our goal is to be completely aligned with our allies, and ensure that there are no loopholes and that those responsible for Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine have no place to hide." 

He said Canada is "working to impose severe costs on the Russian regime for their unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine." 

Heather McPherson, NDP foreign affairs critic, said in a statement that Canadians "are horrified by the violence Ukrainians continue to endure and they expect their government to do everything possible to support the people of Ukraine."

McPherson said there should be more transparency about sanctions so Canadians know they are being enforced and are effective. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press