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B.C. bans import, sale of Russian liquor products

B.C. joins other provinces in pulling Russian liquor products off the shelves.
Liquor stores across Canada are pulling Russian products following the invasion of Ukraine.

B.C. has banned the import and sale of Russian liquor products in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine starting this week.

In a statement, B.C. Deputy Premier and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the province is putting “an immediate halt to the importing and sale of Russian liquor products from our BC Liquor Stores and provincial liquor distribution centres.”

Farnworth added that this may not be the only move aimed at punishing the Russian government for deciding to invade Ukraine.

"We are working with Ottawa on how British Columbia can support the co-ordinated sanctions from the federal government," he said.

In addition, B.C. is contributing $1 million to the Red Cross to support Ukrainians who are affected by the war, Farnworth said, calling the attack an “illegal act of war.”

With the move to ban Russian liquor, B.C. joins Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba as Canadian provinces that have halted the sale and import of Russian liquor.

Russia is most known for producing spirits such as vodka, but more popular brands in North America — such as Smirnoff — are produced locally in North America or elsewhere in Europe (Absolut from Sweden, for example) and does not come from Russia.

Brands that do originate from Russia include Russian Standard — the most notable Russian brand — as well Baikal and Beluga Noble Russian Vodka. As of Friday afternoon, all three brands’ products are still available for order on the BC Liquor Store website.