Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Minister Baird’s upcoming visit to Europe

Visit will serve to establish common approach to ongoing situation in Ukraine

Ottawa, Ontario
14 April 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement announcing that he is dispatching Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to Central and Eastern Europe, from April 22-28, 2014. His visit will include stops in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia.

“The recent developments in Ukraine are a great concern to our NATO allies in the region and should be a great concern to all of us. When a major power acts in a way that is so aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic, this represents a significant threat to the peace and stability of the world and it is time we all recognize the depth and the seriousness of that threat.

“Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has stood proudly and firmly beside the Ukrainian people, taking concrete actions to help them along the path toward freedom, democracy and stability.

“These actions have included imposing travel bans and economic sanctions against a number of individuals responsible for threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as providing support to help the country stabilize its economy and promote economic and social development. Canadian representatives, including myself, have also undertaken a number of visits to the country and reiterated our strong support for the new Government of Ukraine.

“Minister Baird will be proceeding next week to visit our allies in Eastern Europe to have high-level consultations on what further steps we can also take. During his upcoming visit to the region – his third since the beginning of the crisis – Minister Baird will meet with key European partners to discuss Canada’s desire for a strong and prosperous Europe as well as a common approach in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

“Canada will continue to support the people of Ukraine and is prepared to take further action if Russia continues down this dangerous road. The resolve and determination of the Ukrainian people for their freedom and independence has no limits and we know from history that anybody who makes it their historical mission to turn the clock back, as Mr. Putin has determined to do, that those kinds of missions always fail in the end. We will do all in our power to make it fail.”