Baird to Travel to Europe to Show Support for Eastern European Partners

March 28, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that he will travel to Bucharest, Romania and Chisinau, Moldova on March 30 and 31, 2014, for bilateral meetings before heading to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, to be held April 1 and 2. The situation in Ukraine and the aggressive acts of the Russian Federation will surely dominate the agendas at these meetings.

While in Bucharest, Baird will meet with Titus Corlăţean, Romania’s foreign minister, before travelling to Moldova, where the two ministers will meet with Natalia Snegur-Gherman, Moldova’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs. Baird will also hold separate discussions with Moldova’s president and its prime minister before departing for Brussels.

“One of Canada’s oldest and most basic values is supporting a sovereign state’s territorial integrity,” said Baird. “Russia has instead chosen to flout international law and thumb its nose at the international community. My visit here to two of Ukraine’s neighbours should send a strong signal to the Kremlin that these actions have not gone, and will not go, unnoticed, and Canada, along with our international partners, will continue to take action.”

At the NATO meeting, Baird will underscore Canada’s commitment to working with allies on how to further address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, including Russia’s illegal military actions in Crimea and the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Baird will also participate in a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission to consider support measures for Ukraine.

“The situation in Ukraine presents serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole,” said Baird. “Canada stands united with our NATO allies and partners in condemning in the strongest terms President Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine. This meeting is an opportunity to demonstrate common allied resolve and to identify further means to support our partners.”

While in Brussels, Baird will hold bilateral discussions with many of Canada’s allies and partners and will attend the International Conference on the Prevention of Genocide.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder – Canada’s Ongoing Support for Ukraine

Since the beginning of the crisis, Canada has taken a number of steps to support the Ukrainian people as they work to restore political and economic stability, including imposing sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing crisis. Canada has been clear: it remains ready to intensify its actions if a peaceful resolution is not reached.

January 26, 2014

Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, led a successful visit to Ukraine, during which he expressed Canada’s ongoing concern about violations of basic freedoms and reinforced Canada’s commitment to the Ukrainian people.

February 14, 2014

John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced funding to provide supplies, equipment and medical care for Ukrainian activists through a contribution to the International Renaissance Foundation, a Ukrainian non-governmental organization.

February 28, 2014

Minister Baird led a successful mission to Ukraine, where he and the Canadian delegation of parliamentarians and representatives of the Ukrainian-Canadian community met with key members of the new government.

March 1, 2014

In response to the very serious developments in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper convened a meeting of Cabinet ministers, preceded by a telephone exchange with President Obama. In a statement, the Prime Minister announced:

  • Canada’s suspension of preparations for the G-8 Summit, currently planned for Sochi, and that the Canadian Ambassador in Russia is being recalled for consultations;
  • Canada’s support for the immediate deployment of international monitors from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to Ukraine; and,
  • Canada’s engagement in discussions aimed at developing a financial aid package for Ukraine.

March 2, 2014

Canada and other G-7 leaders issued a joint statement condemning the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In addition, they announced that they will “suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion.”

March 3, 2014

Prime Minister Harper issued a statement calling once again on President Putin to immediately withdraw his military from Crimea, adding that the situation in Ukraine remains extremely serious for global peace and security. The Prime Minister added that he has cancelled government representation at the Paralympic Games and instructed officials to review all planned bilateral interaction with Russia.

Prime Minister Harper spoke with Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, about developments in Crimea and other regions in the south and east of Ukraine. Prime Minister Harper condemned in the strongest terms President Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine.

March 4, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced that, effective immediately, all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the military of the Russian Federation are suspended. This includes exercises, such as NORAD’s Exercise Vigilant Eagle, and scheduled meetings.

March 5, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced that, at the request of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Canada will freeze the assets of members of the Yanukovych regime. As a result, 18 people, including members of the former Yanukovych regime, members of their families, and their close associates, were listed in regulations under the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.

Canada also suspended its participation in the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission.

Prime Minister Harper announced that at Ukraine’s request, Canada, along with a number of other member countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, will participate in a military observer mission that will report on military activities in Ukraine. Canada contributed two military observers.

March 6, 2014

Prime Minister Harper issued a statement saying that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an act of aggression, a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and of international law. He further added that Canada will not recognize a referendum held in a region currently under illegal military occupation.

March 12, 2014

G-7 leaders issued a statement calling on the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law. They call on the Russian Federation to immediately halt actions supporting a referendum on the territory of Crimea regarding its status, in direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine.

March 13, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced more than $220 million in support to help Ukraine stabilize its economy and promote economic and social development. The support will be provided in the form of a loan or loan guarantee, conditional on a broader package that includes International Monetary Fund (IMF) support for Ukraine. Additional support will assist the IMF in delivering technical assistance to help Ukraine manage its economic transition and financial sector reforms.

March 16, 2014

Prime Minister Harper issued a statement on the results of the Crimean “referendum”, reiterating that this “referendum” is illegitimate, has no legal effect, and that Canada does not recognize its outcome.

March 17, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced further economic sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act and additional travel bans against Ukrainian and Russian officials.

The Prime Minister also met with Vadym Prystaiko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, to discuss the ongoing situation.

March 18, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced economic sanctions and travel bans against an additional 17 Ukrainian and Russian officials responsible for undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for facilitating Russian military action against Ukraine.

March 21, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced economic sanctions against 14 additional Russian officials and one financial institution, Bank Rossiya. Travel bans were also imposed on these 14 individuals. 

March 22, 2014

Prime Minister Harper announced Canada’s contribution of $775,000 to a political and security monitoring mission to Ukraine, led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.