Baird Wraps Up Successful Trip to Latvia, Promotes Coordinated Response to Crisis in Ukraine

April 26, 2014- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today wrapped up a successful visit to Latvia, where he continued to speak out against Russia’s increasing use of provocation and aggression toward Ukraine and underscored the importance of strong coordination among allies.

"A clear and consistent message rang out in my meetings with key allies across Central and Eastern Europe this week—and that is we will not stand by and watch as Russia continues to employ provocative actions against Ukraine," said Baird. "President Putin needs to step up to the plate and demonstrate with key actions his willingness to comply with its Geneva commitments to de-escalate the crisis, call off its provocateurs and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."

During his visit, Baird met with President Andris Bērziņš, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Minister of Defence Raimonds Vējonis. All agreed that the situation in Ukraine—in particular the Russian military build-up along its borders—continues to pose a serious threat to global peace and security and stressed that Russia would face further political and economic isolation if Putin continued to disregard its Geneva commitments.

"The international community continues to speak with a unified voice in support of the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people," said Baird. "Canada will work with its allies to help ensure that Ukrainians are free to exercise their sovereign rights and to choose a leader, free from coercion or intimidation."

Reinforcing Canada’s commitments to human rights and Holocaust remembrance, Baird also visited the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and the Rumbula Forest Memorial, the site of a massacre of approximately 25,000 Jews that took place on November 30 and December 8, 1941.

This is the Minister’s fourth visit to the region in recent months since the start of the crisis in Ukraine. Baird will conclude his travels with a visit to Estonia on April 27 and 28.

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