Liberal Party of Canada statement on the situation in Ukraine

OTTAWA – Liberal Party of Canada Deputy Leader Ralph Goodale, Foreign Affairs Critic Marc Garneau, and M.P. Chrystia Freeland today issued the following statement on the deteriorating situation in Eastern Ukraine.

“Russian-armed and Russian-led forces have clearly broken the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine with their assault on the city of Mariupol. That they have done so with the support and encouragement of Russia is undeniable, as President Putin continues to ride roughshod over Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“We must continue to send strong signals that this ongoing aggression and reckless disregard for the sovereignty of Ukraine will have further, serious economic consequences.

“Specifically, we urge the Government of Canada to expand sanctions by adding the following two, influential businessmen to its list of sanctioned Russians: Igor Sechin, Chair of Rosneft, and Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec. Both are very close to President Putin and have been sanctioned by the United States; Canada should follow suit immediately.

“The Canadian government should also explore, with its allies, the feasibility of cutting off certain Russian banks from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network.

“As we have urged in the past, Canada should provide armoured vehicles to OSCE monitors currently tasked with the dangerous job of observing the now broken ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine. This will ensure that monitors are better able to do their job with less risk to their own safety.

“While free trade negotiations are ongoing, Canada should immediately lift all trade barriers for Ukrainian businesses, as the European Union has done through to the end of 2015.

“As part of our country’s ongoing, long-term support to Ukraine, Canada should also assist the government of Ukraine in building and reinforcing the essential institutions of democracy that will place the country on a solid foundation.

“The Government of Canada should call for an urgent meeting of its NATO allies to decide whether new steps must be taken ‎in view of escalating Russian aggression in Ukraine‎.”