UCC meets with Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

    Kateryna Bandura for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

    Amid escalating Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) briefed the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, on December 21 on policy recommendations to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine.

    The UCC sent a briefing note to the Honourable Mélanie Joly on December 15, addressing three major areas where Canada can help Ukraine: enhancing Ukraine’s defence capabilities, addressing the Nord Stream 2 situation and firming Canada’s sanctions policy.

    UCC recommended that Canada and allies take the following steps to deter a further Russian invasion of Ukraine:

    Substantially increase the provision of defensive weapons to Ukraine – most importantly anti-tank, anti-artillery, naval and air defence systems.

    Extend and enhance Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine.

    Increase the provision of real-time satellite imagery and intelligence to Ukraine on Russian military movements.

    Ensure that the Nord Stream II pipeline never becomes operational. Should this pipeline connecting Russia and Germany become operational, a significant deterrent to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine will be removed.

    Significantly increase sectoral economic sanctions against Russia, including the removal of Russia from the SWIFT international payments system.

    Significantly increase personal sanctions against Russian officials responsible for waging aggressive war against Ukraine and egregious human rights violations of Ukrainian citizens.

    Increase funding for Canada’s Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division to permit it to operate more efficiently.

    UCC National President Alexandra Chyczij led the UCC delegation. It included Vice President Ann Szyptur, UCC Quebec Provincial Council President Michael Shwec, UCC CEO Ihor Michalchyshyn and Paul Migus, UCC’s Director of Government Relations. Member of Parliament Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre), Chair of the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, also attended the meeting.

    In the note, UCC said that “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a threat not only to Ukraine but to a Europe whole, free and at peace”.

    “Protecting Ukraine’s security and sovereignty is in the national interest of Canada and our NATO allies. Countering Russia’s escalating aggression against Ukraine is key to securing peace in Europe,” it said.

    There was no substantive response by NATO or the G7 to the Russian escalation in spring 2021 when Russia significantly escalated attacks on Ukrainian positions on the frontline in Donetsk and Luhansk. Nor was there any robust response from the international community to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, which UCC called “an egregious violation of international law”.

    The UCC said its position is that Canada and allies must respond forcefully to Russia’s recent escalation before, not after, a possible further Russian invasion into Ukraine.

    “The Russian regime has shown time and again that it reads restraint as weakness and that it responds only to strength. The most effective way to deter a further Russian invasion of Ukraine is to take proactive, rather than reactive, steps,” UCC said in the note.

    “We are thankful to Minister Joly for her strong support of Ukraine in the face of increasing Russian aggression,” said Alexandra Chyczij, UCC National President. “To deter a further Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is vital for Canada and our international allies to stand together and take action now.”

    With files from UCC
    This article is written under the Local Journalism Initiative agreement