Baird Promotes Territorial Integrity and National Unity in Ukraine

February 28, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today wrapped up a successful mission to Ukraine, where he and the Canadian delegation of parliamentarians and representatives of the Ukrainian community met with key members of the new government.

Baird met with acting president Oleksander Turchynov, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, acting foreign minister Andriy Deschytsya, Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform leader Vitali Klitschko, All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Group Volodymyr Polochaninov, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, as well as other opposition and civil society members.

He also met with the major organizers of Maidan civil society, representatives from Ukraine’s religious communities including Crimean Tatars, and visited the medical centre at St. Michael’s Monastery, where he announced increased financial support for providing medical care to injured protesters.

Members of the Canadian delegation walked through the Maidan and paid their respects to the fallen protesters who died for the cause of democracy. “Their sacrifice in the defence of their democracy and freedom has brought change to this country,” said Baird. “They will not be forgotten.”

Baird congratulated the new government and emphasized the need to honour the 1994 Budapest Declaration’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and national unity at this critical time. He also reiterated Canada’s support for Ukraine and its efforts to rebuild the country, including through the International Monetary Fund, following the instability and violence of the last 100 days. Many of his meetings featured discussions on ways to reduce corruption, combat money laundering and manage the financial transition.

“Canada remains committed to working in concert with our allies to develop a plan to assist Ukraine’s economic and democratic future,” said Baird.

The Canadian delegation consisted of Ted Opitz, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre; James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk—Interlake; Senator Raynell Andreychuk; Victor Hetmanczuk, President and CEO, Canada-Ukraine Foundation; Paul Grod, President, Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC); Taras Zalusky, Executive Director, UCC; and Krystina Waler, board member, Ukrainian Canadian Professionals and Business Association.

For further information and photos, please visit Canada’s Response to the Situation in Ukraine.

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