Minister Alghabra wrote about the matter on Twitter on Thursday, saying: “A charter aircraft that carried Russian foreign nationals has been held at the Yellowknife airport. We will continue to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.”
The plane landed in Yellowknife earlier this week on Tuesday after arriving from Geneva and was said to be on its way to the far-north small hamlet of Resolute, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
The government of the Northwest Territories, meanwhile, claimed they had no idea who had been on the aircraft until after it landed in Yellowknife.
Transport Canada has stated it will be reviewing whether the aircraft violated an ongoing Canadian ban on Russian aircraft using Canadian airspace, the Toronto Sun reports.
So far, the Canadian government has kept relatively quiet on the details of the two Russian nationals, their identities, and why they were travelling.
On Friday, Minister Alghabra confirmed that the aircraft had violated the ban on the use of Canadian airspace by Russian aircraft, stating: “After a thorough investigation by Transport Canada, the Russian controlled aircraft in Yellowknife violated the prohibition of Russian-owned, operated, or controlled aircraft in Canadian airspace. Penalties have been levied against the owner, primary client, and pilots onboard.”
After a thorough investigation by Transport Canada, the Russian controlled aircraft in Yellowknife violated the prohibition of Russian-owned, operated, or controlled aircraft in Canadian airspace. Penalties have been levied against the owner, primary client, and pilots onboard.
— Omar Alghabra (@OmarAlghabra) March 4, 2022
Canada has pushed for sanctions against Russia since the country invaded Ukraine last week and has enacted various sanctions, including stripping both Russia and its ally Belarus of their official statuses as preferential trading partners.
“Tariffs and retaliation and sanctions are the most effective when you can devise policies that have the maximum impact on the counter party whose attention you are seeking to get, and do the minimal damage to yourself,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said earlier this week.
According to Freeland, Russian and Belarusian products will now be charged a 35 per cent duty — although POLITICO notes that trade between Canada and the two countries is actually relatively low.
Interim Conservative Party leader Candice Bergen, the official opposition to Prime Minister Trudeau's Liberal government, went even further, calling for the government to expel the Russian ambassador and recall Canada's ambassador to Russia.
"All the people who will die starting from this day will also die because of you. Because of your weakness. Because of your disunity," Zelensky railed at NATO https://t.co/6QYys1ae0l
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 5, 2022
While Canada has enacted sanctions against Russia, it has refused to entertain the idea of implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine – a policy that has been called for by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We want a no-fly zone because our people are being killed. From Belarus, from Russia — these missiles, these Iskander missiles and bomber planes, are coming,” Zelensky said on Friday.