Embassy – Canada’s Foreign Policy Newspaper
Ukraine asks Canada for practical help, not just criticism
Ukrainian-Canadian group defends Canada’s long-term support for the country.
Published: Wednesday, 12/18/2013 12:00 am EST
Ukraine’s ambassador says he wants practical help from Canada on issues like easing visa restrictions and opening markets—not just criticism.
“[To be] frank, it’s very easy to criticize. You’re just sitting in your chair and saying ‘You’re wrong. Do it better,’” said Vadym Prystaiko in a Dec. 5 interview. “How?”
The Canadian government and a prominent Ukrainian-Canadian community group say Canada is helping Ukraine in practical ways, through development and elections help, for instance.
It’s a tense time in Ukraine-Canada relations. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development called in Mr. Prystaiko for a dressing-down on Dec. 2, “to express Canada’s strong disapproval of police violence carried out during that wee end against protesters in Kyiv,” wrote DFATD spokesperson Mathieu Roy in a Dec. 17 email.
While in the capital on Dec. 5 for meetings of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Foreign Minister John Baird visited people camped out to protest the Ukrainian government’s Nov. 21 decision to suspend the signing of a deal to tighten ties with the European Union.