Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs on fourth anniversary of illegal annexation of Crimea


March 16, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“On the fourth anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea, Canada joins with the international community and continues to condemn this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Since Russia’s occupation of Crimea, we have witnessed severe human rights violations—committed by state agents of Russia— including the suppression of freedom of expression and association, arbitrary arrests, torture, detentions and disappearances. Canada will not recognize the illegitimate extension of Russia's presidential elections to annexed Ukrainian territory.

“We call 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 a maximum security penal colony.

“In December 2017, I attended the 24th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, where I met with Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, and Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, Deputy Chairmen of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars, to discuss what Canada can do to support more Crimean Tatars. Their stories of violence and persecution are heartbreaking.

“Canada will continue to work closely with Crimean Tatar organisations to find concrete ways to raise awareness about the situation in Crimea and to promote and protect their human rights. Canada will continue to denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of an Indigenous people, and to call on Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.

“Today, to help reinforce Ukraine’s resilience, I am announcing $4.65 million to support training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF). This funding will provide equipment to support first aid and military police training to the UAF.

“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.”

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Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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