Products “of Russian origin” were removed from the shelves of Northwest Territories liquor stores on Saturday.
The move is a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Government of the Northwest Territories said in a brief post to Facebook. Many other jurisdictions across North America have taken the same step in the past 48 hours.
No list of affected products was provided. The NWT’s liquor stores – all of which are ultimately controlled by the territorial government – routinely stock various vodkas associated with Russia.
What exactly qualifies as “Russian origin” was not made clear. The Smirnoff vodka brand, for example, was founded in Moscow but is now owned and produced by a British company. Stolichnaya, a vodka brand intimately associated with the Soviet Union and under Russian ownership, is produced in Latvia.
The territory said “all Russian-made products” would be removed from stores and would no longer be available for licence or permit holders, such as event organizers or restaurants and bars, to purchase.
On Saturday afternoon, brands like Stolichnaya, Moskovskaya, Russian Standard, and Russian Prince had been withdrawn from sale.
Earlier on Friday, in a separate announcement, the NWT government said it would match up to $50,000 in residents’ donations to Red Cross humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
As of Saturday morning, Russian efforts to capture three key Ukrainian cities – including the capital, Kyiv – were being slowed by intense Ukrainian resistance.
The United Nations estimated at least 120,000 people had escaped Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began.