LEE BERTHIAUME, OTTAWA CITIZEN
Ukraine’s prime minister will lead a high-level delegation to Ottawa this week with the intention of completing a free trade agreement with Canada.
A trade deal between the two countries would be a win for Ukraine, which is desperate to improve its battered economy following nearly two years of turmoil. It would also be a major victory for the Conservative government heading into October’s election, where Ukrainian-Canadian voters could be a deciding factor.
Free trade negotiations between Canada and Ukraine were launched in 2009, but they quickly bogged down after pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych came to power the following year. Canada officially suspended talks in 2013 after Ukraine tried to re-open some parts of the deal that had already been finished.
But negotiations were quietly resurrected after Yanukovych was ousted in a popular revolt and the election of a pro-Western government last year. On Tuesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will lead nearly a dozen senior Ukrainian officials to Ottawa with an eye to finishing the deal.