Sask. Leaders respond to Abramovich being sanctioned by Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has added Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich to the list of those sanctioned by the country.

Abramovich is a significant shareholder in Evraz, a steel mill company in Regina.

The announcement comes just a day after the United Kingdom announced sanctions against Abramovich.

He is now one on a growing list of Russian oligarchs added to the Canadian sanctions list for their close ties with Putin.

Trudeau said that the federal government would try to ensure that the sanctions against Abramovich won’t hurt the workers in Saskatchewan.

“The sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs like Abramovich are directed at them so that they cannot profit or benefit from economic activities in Canada or the hard work of Canadians working with companies that they have investments in.”

“We are obviously going to watch carefully, but we are confident that this will not impact the hardworking Canadians who are doing good work in companies across the country.”

Premier Scott Moe said that he doesn’t believe the sanctions from the United Kingdom, or the federal government will affect workers or Evraz here in Saskatchewan.

“I have full confidence that the mill here in Regina and the mills in Canada and likely across North America are going to continue their operations as per usual,” he said. “They are not connected; they are separate from the global and European operations that Evraz steel has.”

Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili said things need to be taken further and remove all Russian ownership.

Currently, Roman Abramovich, chairman Alexander Abramov and CEO Aleksandr Frolov own 63.4 per cent of Evraz.

“It’s absolutely clear to me that the ownership of Evraz needs to change hands,” Meili said. “It can no longer be in the hands of Abramovich, Abramov, Frolov that are needing to be cut off of their sources of funds so that Putin’s ability to bankroll his illegal invasion is ended.”

Meili said that as far as removing Russian oligarchs from ownership, that is a complex issue.

“It’s Evraz North America. This has national implications international implications. It has implications from a strategy point of view, from energy, independence point of view, as well as, foreign policy,” he said. “This had to be a discussion where Canada is at the table, but it is a discussion where Saskatchewan has a key role to play. Saskatchewan needs to be stepping forward and making it clear that his transfer of ownership needs to occur and be at the table.”

Meili added that as far as what the transfer of ownership would look like, that is another discussion Saskatchewan needs to be involved in.

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