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Opposition demands answers on two Russians not sanctioned by Canada

OTTAWA - The NDP and Liberals are demanding answers from the Conservative government over a decision not to sanction two Russian men with connections to Canadian companies.

The government has imposed sanctions on several dozen individuals with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They are part of a broader package of sanctions imposed by Western countries in response to Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the continuing unrest in eastern Ukraine.

The NDP asked in the House of Commons why Igor Sechin and Sergey Chemezov were not among those on the Canadian sanctions list.

Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, brushed aside questions saying Canada's sanctions are intended to punish the Putin regime.

Both men are chief executives of Russian companies that have joint ventures or investments with Canadian firms.

"Why will the Conservatives not put Putin's buddies on the list?" asked NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar.

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler said he wants both men to face sanctions because "those decisions should not be guided by our commercial interests or our commercial relationships."

The Canadian Press

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