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Sanctions on Russian Evraz Steel shareholder unlikely to affect North American operations: Sask. premier

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Saskatchewan’s premier does not expect recently imposed sanctions against a Russian Evraz Steel shareholder to impact the company’s operations within the province.

The U.K. announced sanctions against Russian Oligarch and minority Evraz shareholder Roman Abramovich on Thursday, freezing his assets and implementing a travel ban.

Premier Scott Moe said he does not expect Saskatchewan operations to be affected, despite the ripple effect on the global market.

“The operations that we see here in Regina are disconnected from the global operations and the European operations that the U.K. government is specifically looking at,” Premier Scott Moe said Thursday.

“I have full confidence the mill here in Regina, and the mills in Canada and likely across North America, are going to continue their operations as per usual because they are not connected, they are separate from the global and the European operations that Evraz Steel has.”

Abramovich is a “significant” shareholder of Evraz plc, holding 28.64 per cent of shares, according to the company.

On its sanctions list, the U.K. claims “Abramovich is or has been involved in destabilizing Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, via Evraz PLC.”

It also said he exercises effective control of the company.

In response, Evraz said it does not consider Abramovich to have effective control of the company, due to his status as a minority shareholder, him having no right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the board and his inability to ensure the company acts in “accordance to his wishes,” in a news release.

“Furthermore, the company denies the statement that it is or has been involved in providing financial services, or making available funds, economic resources, goods or technology that could contribute to destabilizing Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine — which includes potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks,” Evraz said.

Moe said North American Evraz operations are not providing steel for the Russian war effort, to his knowledge.

“I don’t know that the same statement can be made on the European Evraz operations,” Moe said.

In response to the sanctions, the London Stock Exchange suspended trading on Evraz plc stock, to protect investors “pending clarification of the impact of the U.K. sanctions.”

Abramovich was among seven Russian oligarchs targeted by U.K sanctions on Thursday, as the country cracks down on those associated with the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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