March 19. Ottawa – On the fourth anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress welcomes the strong statements of support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity from Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and Canada’s Official Opposition Leader, the Honourable Andrew Scheer.
In her statement Minister Freeland reaffirmed Canada’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, saying “Canada is unreserved in its support for the people of Ukraine. We will continue to maintain pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia meets its obligations under international law and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
Minister Freeland also announced $4.65 million to support training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to provide equipment to support first aid and military police training.
In his statement, the Honourable Mr. Scheer said that “Russia’s continual abuse of human rights in illegally-occupied Crimea is an affront to the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law that Canada has always defended on the world stage. That’s why Canada and its allies have imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime, targeting state-owned banks, defense industry and Russia’s energy sector.”
Both Minister Freeland and Mr. Scheer expressed concern with the deteriorating human rights situation in Russian occupied Crimea which has led to the illegal detention, torture and disappearance of many Crimean Tatar leaders.
Minister Freeland said Canada will continue to work closely with Crimean Tatar organisations to raise awareness about the situation in Crimea and to denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of an Indigenous people. She called for the release of all political prisoners held by Russia, including Oleg Sentsov, a writer and a filmmaker, who for his outspoken criticism of Russia’s occupation is serving a politically driven sentence of 20 years.
In his statement, the Hon. Andrew Scheer noted that thousands of Ukrainians, including many Crimean Tatars, have been forced to flee from their homes in Crimea after facing persecution from the Russian authorities for their political views, language and religion.
To view the full text original statements please see below:
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Official Opposition