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Canada lawmakers vote to label Russia’s acts in Ukraine as ‘genocide’

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Canada’s House of Commons on Wednesday unanimously voted to adopt a motion accusing the Russian government of committing “acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people”.

The motion said war crimes by Russia include mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape.

The motion, introduced by MP Heather McPherson, is non-binding, but McPherson said later that her intent in moving it was to use it as “a tool to urge our government to do more”.

“This is a tool to say that the conflict in Ukraine is not over, that the support we’ve been providing has not been enough and we need to do more for the people of Ukraine,” she said, according to the CBC News.

The motion was to “recognise that the Russian Federation is committing acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people” and also acknowledging “there is clear and ample evidence of systematic and massive war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed against the people of Ukraine by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, directed by President Vladimir Putin and others within the Russian Parliament.”

The motion was passed as Canada imposed additional sanctions related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The measures announced on Wednesday imposed restrictions on 11 senior officials and 192 other members of the People’s Councils of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics “who are complicit in the Russian regime’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to a statement from Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry.

The Canadian government has also said it will change its sanctions laws to allow for funds or property seized or sanctioned from Russia to be paid out to help rebuild Ukraine or to those impacted by Russia’s invasion.

It described Russia’s attempted annexation of certain areas of Donbas as “a blatant violation of international law”.

“Canada continues to call for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian soil,” it said.

Since the attack commenced in February this year, Canada has sanctioned 1,000 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, including Putin.

(With inputs from agencies)

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