April 12 (Reuters) – Some of Canada’s best known athletes, including Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Hayley Wickenheiser, have been included on a list of 333 Canadians banned from entering Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
Most of the athletes on the list are retired Canadian Olympians who signed a letter last month urging the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to support a ban of Russia and Belarus from taking part at the 2024 Paris Summer Games unless Russia withdraws from Ukraine.
Many international sports federations have excluded athletes from the two countries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which it calls a special military operation.
The sanctions are mostly symbolic, with Russia banned from hosting major sporting events and Canadian athletes having no reason to travel to the country.
“In view of the anti-Russian sanctions periodically imposed by the Trudeau regime against officials, politicians, experts, journalists, cultural figures and athletes from Russia, as well as anyone who does not suit the Ottawa ‘mainstream’ and the neo-Nazi authorities supported by it in Kiev, entry into the Russian Federation closes permanently to 333 Canadian citizens,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website.
Others on the list barred from entering Russia include the Governor General of Canada Mary Simon and members of the Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia provincial legislatures.