Russia has signaled that it will only remove newly appointed Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland from its sanctions list on a reciprocal basis.
Russian news agencies cited an unidentified Russian Foreign Ministry official as saying on January 11 that Freeland has been on a list of Canadians subject to sanctions, which includes a travel ban, since 2014.
Moscow introduced the sanctions list after many Western countries, including Canada, imposed targeted sanctions against Russian officials over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
"The issue of removing her from the response sanctions is an issue of reciprocity and the mirror principle," the Foreign Ministry official said. "The fact that she is blacklisted will not impede contacts with Russian officials at international forums."
Freeland, a former journalist who is of Ukrainian descent, has been a harsh critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After Moscow imposed sanctions on her, Freeland posted on Twitter that she considered it "an honor to be on Putin’s sanction list."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Freeland as foreign minister on January 10.
In 2015, she wrote an article for Quartz magazine titled My Ukraine, And Putin's Big Lie.
Trudeau, in announcing Freeland's appointment as foreign affairs minister, sidestepped a question from reporters over whether her rocky relationship with Russia would have an impact.
Freeland, who once lived in Moscow during her career as a financial correspondent, said that whether she will be able to travel to Russia as foreign minister was not up to her.
"That's a question for Moscow," she said. "I am a very strong supporter of our government's view that it is important to engage with all countries around the world, very much including Russia."
Based on reporting by RIA Novosti, Interfax, Reuters, TASS, and AFP