PLAIN TEXT VERSION:
19 June 2014
Dear Members of Parliament:
Re: Urgent Support for Ukraine
The Ukrainian Canadian community is grateful for Canada’s unwavering support for the people of Ukraine. We welcome the recent visits to Ukraine by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ministers John Baird and Rob Nicholson and many Parliamentarians over the past several months.
Prime Minister Harper’s participation in the inauguration of Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko on 7 June and the first leader to meet with the newly sworn-in President was a true sign of friendship between Canada and Ukraine. President Poroshenko expressed this to me during a meeting with the Ukrainian World Congress and stated “We are thankful that Canada supports Ukraine, Ukrainian unity, solidarity and Ukraine’s fight for territorial integrity and independence.”
We appreciate Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine in its continued democratic development, and its recognition and support for the new government in Ukraine.
Today, Ukraine needs Canada’s help more than ever. Ukraine has seen the illegal and unrecognized annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory in Crimea by the Russian Federation in March. Since April, Russia has continued to destabilize Ukraine by sending heavily-armed insurgents into its eastern regions with high tech weaponry including tanks and sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles. These Russian insurgents are responsible for hundreds of deaths, a terror campaign against the civil populations and tens of thousands of refugees fleeing their homes in eastern Ukraine. This is in addition to the severe economic and energy blackmail by Putin. The Russian President’s next steps will be shaped largely by the response of Canada, the US, the EU and their allies.
The government of Ukraine asked NATO and its Western allies in late March for military assistance. This request was repeated by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to Prime Minister Harper and by Ukraine’s Defence Minister to Canada’s Minister of Defence during their visit to Ukraine. Unfortunately, very little military aid has been provided.
In this context, we call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Work with her NATO allies to provide critical military assistance (force equalization equipment, communications technology and training) to Ukraine as it faces serious military aggression funded and carried out by Kremlin-backed saboteurs and terrorists as Russia’s aggression continues to escalate;
2. Provide lifesaving equipment including anti-terrorist equipment, medical field kits and body armor to Ukraine’s armed forces;
3. Sanctions – impose wide sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation’s energy, defense, and financial services sectors;
4. Expedite humanitarian and technical assistance projects to assist in Ukraine’s continued reform and democratic development;
5. Advance trade and visa liberalization with Ukraine.
Thank you for supporting the people of Ukraine in their fight for dignity, independence, peace and a better future for themselves and their children. Please act urgently as the number of casualties continues to mount daily.
Yours very truly,
UKRAINIAN CANADIAN CONGRESS
Paul M. Grod