Canada calls on Putin to pull troops out of Ukraine

‘Ukraine’s sovereign territory must be respected,’ Stephen Harper says


OTTAWA – Ominous developments in Ukraine have prompted Prime Minister Stephen Harper to strongly condemn Russia military intervention in the country while urging President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops immediately.

In a statement issued following a rare emergency cabinet meeting held Saturday afternoon, Harper said Canada is recalling its ambassador from Moscow and pulling out of the G8 process being chaired by Russia.

At the same time, Canada is recognizing the legitimacy of the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government.

“Ukraine’s sovereign territory must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future,” Harper said in his statement. “We call on President Putin to immediately withdraw his forces to their bases and refrain from further provocative and dangerous actions.”

He warns that should Putin push forward with military action, it will lead to “ongoing negative consequences” for Canada-Russia relations.

The special cabinet meeting was called after Russian parliament gave Putin the green light on Saturday to use the country’s military in Ukraine. Russian armed forces have seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Canadian cabinet ministers met by phone and in person well into the evening on Saturday, agreeing to join the United States and the United Kingdom in issuing strongly worded condemnations of the Russian actions and taking concrete steps to show they mean business.

“We join our allies in condemning in the strongest terms President Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine. These actions are a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are also in violation of Russia’s obligations under international law,” Harper stated.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Harper spoke by telephone about the troubling events in Ukraine earlier Saturday. The two leaders agreed to “co-ordinate closely.”

Obama personally delivered the same message as Harper’s during a 90-minute telephone conversation with Putin, the White House said late Saturday. He not only urged Putin to pull his forces back to Russian bases in Crimea, but also to refrain from interfering elsewhere in the former Soviet republic.

The Kremlin said Putin, meantime, told Obama that Russian citizens living in Ukraine are in danger and that Russia has the right to protect them.

“Vladimir Putin emphasized that, in the case of a further spread in violence in eastern regions (of Ukraine) and Crimea, Russia maintains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population that lives there,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Political turmoil in Ukraine pushed President Viktor Yanukovych from office following massive pro-democracy protests after he rejected a partnership agreement with the European Union in favour of deepening his country’s historical ties with Moscow.

Yanukovych held a news conference in southern Russia on Friday in which he said he was not asking Moscow for military assistance and called military action “unacceptable.”

Yanukovych, who still considers himself Ukraine’s president, also vowed to “keep fighting for the future of Ukraine” and blamed the U.S. and the West for encouraging the rebellion that forced him to flee last weekend.

Ukraine’s acting president, meantime, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, said at a briefing in Kyiv that he had ordered Ukraine’s armed forces “to full combat readiness.” Ukrainian soldiers have also reportedly been ordered to open fire if attacked by Russian troops or others.

Canada will boycott meetings leading up to the G8 summit planned for Sochi later this year, Harper said Saturday. The G8 host changes every year, and 2014 is Russia’s turn. The G8 host normally holds several planning meetings among finance ministers, foreign ministers and other top officials.

However, Canadian athletes are still set to compete in the upcoming Paralympics in Sochi. The games are set for March 7 to 16th.

Harper said Canada supports the United Nations sending international monitors to Ukraine and is also involved in multilateral talks to put together a financial aid package for the beleaguered country.

“We will continue to cooperate closely with our G7 partners and other allies. Should President Putin continue on this course of action, it will lead to ongoing negative consequences for our bilateral relationship,” Harper stated.

In Canada, the federal NDP said it was deeply worried about the tension in Ukraine.

“We are monitoring events closely and with great concern. We urge the Canadian government to continue to work alongside our allies towards a peaceful resolution of this troubling situation,” spokesman Marc-Andre Viau said in an email.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, is advising against travel to the region and says Canadians already there should consider leaving “while it is safe to do so.”

Foreign Affairs says its advisory is due to “political uncertainty” and reports of armed groups operating in the area, along with protests and public clashes.

Harper’s statement comes as a day after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and a Canadian delegation visited Kyiv to show support for the new government.

But Canada did not officially recognize the legitimacy of that government until Harper’s statement on Saturday night.

Serhy Yekelchyk, a professor of Slavic studies at the University of Victoria, praised Ottawa’s response as “strong” and “timely” but said it might not be enough.

“I think Canada can go further, especially given the special connection we have to Ukraine, with 1.2 million Canadians being of Ukrainian background,” he said in an interview.

“If this doesn’t work, there will be an issue of further sanctions,” such as excluding Russia from future G8 meetings, he said.

“Because if this goes unchecked, it is very easy to see Putin interfering with other former Soviet republics.”

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Canada calls on Putin to pull troops out of Ukraine

  1. Oooh wow….that’ll scare ’em.

    • – Emily One

      – Do you support Obama’s do nothing approach as compared to Harper saying Canada will not attend a G8 hosted by Russia. (LEADERSHIP)

      – I suppose also you think Junior Trudeau’s joke was funny.

      – I suppose you still think Sarah Palin was stupid when she said in 2008 that Obama was too weak to stand up to Russia is they made a military invasion in the Ukraine.

      – I suppose you reject the professional opinion of Serhy Yekelchyk, a professor of Slavic studies at the University of Victoria who praised Ottawa’s response as “strong” and “timely” but said it might not be enough.

      I did not write (or verify) the following but will include it because I am proud to be a Canadian.

      The best part of being Canadian is that we as a nation know the meaning of humility. We cured polo, but the man decided it to be best to give the cure away instead of making a profit, Patton said the M1 was the rifle that won the war for the states, your welcome a Canadian invented that. We had the underground railroad in a time of slavery, we were in both world wars before the states. Holding the line and preventing an all out breakthrough, urinating on hand clothes to prevent mustard gas from seeping in. We set the world record for the longest sniper kill at over 2 km away until the Brits did it. Sure America put a man on the moon, but you had just about every brain from the Avro Arrow project as project leads. Oh yeah and we invented the telephone and morse code. What makes us great as a nation is that we don’t have to make a movie about every single awesome thing we have done in the past, we just know we rock. We are in many ways the land of the free and home of the brave

      • I suppose …that if you don’t stop thumping your chest like that you’re gonna hurt yourself. LOL

        • Emily One
          When you have nothing constructive to say you make personal attacks on the commentator.

          • Nothing you said in your post was true….we didn’t cure polio or invent Morse code or anything else.

            I didn’t see that there was anything to say to someone that uninformed…so .I just suggested you stop with the chest-beating.

          • My Uncle Harrison recently got Infiniti Q50 Sedan from only
            workin part time on a home computer… go to this website J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

          • Eric, you can’t reason with the insane, these misguided souls suffer from an affliction known as Leftist Mental Disorder, there is no known cure, thought to be genetic.

          • Canada is a great country. We invented peace keeping, discovered stem cells, were the third nation in space, first reported snow falling on Mars and put a chemistry lab on the Curiosity Rover. We have over 20 Nobel prizes. We have Chess masters.

            Yet we dwell on a game from Ancient Egypt, and talk about
            the wonders of tree sap and an early British paramilitary in red coats……and now we’re even heisting the inventions of others because we have no real knowledge about our own country.


          • Look, there’s an LMD sufferer right above.

          • Leftists are as crazy as rightwingers ….I am in neither camp

            We’ve been over this before Billy

          • You’re nuts, certifiable, cuckoo, loonie tunes.

          • Aaaannnnnnddddd you’re now in the dungeon


          • Get some help.

            All you do is post inane disjointed ramblings and insults.

      • It is hypocritical that US invades Afghanistan and that is good but a prior invasion by Russia was good how?

        US/NATO bombs/subverts Libya is good but Russia rolling in for peace is bad how?

        USA spend more on NSA+CIA+military than the other top 25 nations combined, as if at war with the world.

        And Canada is no nation of humility. I have lived in 4 countries, visited 20+ more, when I came back from 10 years absence and watched CBC, I couldn’t believe the sheer arrogance, false ego, BS and other drivel. Politically, we are a inbreed nation of pompous idiots when it comes to politics.


        Eric, you were a little confused in some of the things you said Canadians invented…..we didn’t cure polio…there is no cure and the guys who invented the vaccine were a couple of Americans, Salk and Sabin. Also, Morse of the morse code was an American. Canadians did invent a lot of other cool stuff though. I gave you a link.

        • As I said in the part of my post regarding Canadian achievements; I did not write it or verify and a good reason not to post other peoples writing even with the disclaimer:
          However I could have done 10 minutes of research and come up with a much longer list of verified Canadian achievements.

          Having shiny hair and running on Grandpa’s money and Daddys name would not be one them.

          It has been said that Junior Trudeau was born on third base and still thinks he hit a triple.

    • Pumps Harper’s ego, but the reality is Harper’s opinion, arrogance and antics don’t mater at all.

      • True….Putin says ‘Steve Who?’

  2. Is it smart to reduce our official presence in Moscow at a time when discourse and the right word at the right time might prevent an escalation in events to a truly critical level?
    Personally I think this move unnecessarily reduces our options.

    • Yes hairball
      Recalling Ambassadors is how nations let other nations know they are acting badly.

      It works better than Junior Trudeau’s badly contrived “joke”

      • So having a tantrum and chucking all your toys out of the pram is what passes for diplomacy these days is it? Leaving open communications and being in an immediate position to influence or advise as well as collect intelligence is now not smart?

        I’m not at all sure how this action can do anything to rectify the situation. We aren’t going to war, so that means all we have is diplomacy and now we’ve just lost that approach thanks to some juvenile posturing by a government who is clearly out of its depth in international matters.

  3. Wow, what a good decision. Don’t talk to them until they do what you want. Do you suppose he might have a young teenager on his staff to put such meaningful responses together??

  4. With Putin, its more propaganda.The Canadian government know
    they don’t need to be there.It is for the purpose to get the UKraine
    Canadian Community’s vote in the next election.They are doing
    bad in the poles,and are clueless on how to take down the third
    party.Its Political Convulsion versus Political Resilience.

    • Did you know Putin, democratically elected has nearly twice the public support as Harper and Obama?

      Putin has more than 60% support from his constituents. Obama is sinking like a rock, like Harper, 30-40% support or less.

      But hey, in Canada we love soaking up the propaganda. As propaganda leading to war flares up any time the US government talks of needed military cuts.