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B.C. ready to work with Ottawa on sanctions, refugees after Russian invasion of Ukraine: premier


British Columbia Premier John Horgan says his government is prepared to work with Ottawa to impose sanctions against Russia and to take in potential refugees in the wake of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking from Government House in Victoria on Friday, one day after Russian forces entered Ukraine en masse, the premier condemned the Russian aggression that has fueled fears of wider war in Europe and triggered worldwide efforts to halt the bloodshed.

"I just want to acknowledge, with all free-thinking peoples around the world, to add my condemnation of the unlawful actions of the government of Russia in taking away the liberties and threatening the lives of the people of Ukraine," Horgan said.

"Our government stands ready to work with the federal government to impose whatever sanctions are required and to take whatever steps we can as British Columbians to help the international community condemn these horrific actions," the premier added.

The federal government on Thursday announced that 58 people and entities connected to Russia, including key political leaders, oligarchs and their families, are being sanctioned by Canada, along with several major Russian banks.

Canada is also cancelling existing export permits for Russia. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, who earlier summoned Russia's ambassador for a dressing down at Global Affairs Canada, estimated the permits amounted to $700 million in trade.

"I stand with all British Columbians and, indeed, all Canadians condemning that activity and hoping that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will see the error of his ways and the wrath of the international community will be sufficient for him to turn back on this horrific course that he is on," Horgan said.

British Columbia is already engaged in discussions with the federal government about assisting potential Ukrainian refugees coming to the province "in any way we can," the premier said.

"My intergovernmental officials are working with Ottawa to see what we can do with respect to sanctions, what we can do with respect to providing safe harbour for those who are fleeing the violence that has been beset upon them by a government that clearly has lost its way," Horgan said.

"The Russian government needs to be held accountable, but British Columbians will open their arms to Ukrainian citizens who are wanting to make their way to British Columbia."

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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