Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks at a press conference at the conclusion of the Ukraine Reform Conference ministerial at the University of Toronto on July 2, 2019. Russian media have reported on the fact that Freeland's maternal grandfather was a Ukrainian nationalist intellectual who had collaborated with the Nazis during WWII. It was seen as an effort to discredit Freeland and her policies in support of Ukraine. (Levon Sevunts/RCI)

Canada to block new Russian passport holders from Eastern Ukraine, says Freeland

Share

Canada will not recognize passports issued by Russia to Ukrainian citizens in rebel-held areas of Eastern Ukraine, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the Ukrainian Reform Conference ministerial meeting in Toronto, Freeland said Canada is taking concrete action against continued Russian aggression in Ukraine and condemns the Kremlin’s decision to issue Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens in the Donbas region.

“As of today, Canada will take action to ensure these passports cannot be used to travel to Canada,” Freeland said.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have left the Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine that are currently controlled by pro-Russian rebels in search of better work opportunities in Russia over the past 25 years, long before the conflict in the Donbas region began in 2014.

A response to ‘an act of further aggression’

It’s not clear how the new rules will distinguish between those who left eastern Ukraine before the conflict began and have since become Russian citizens and those who were granted citizenship since Moscow began issuing passports in June.

“This is not about legitimate holders of Russian passports nor is this measure directed in any way to prevent people from living in occupied Donbas from coming to Canada,” Freeland said.

“People who are citizens of Ukraine, which is the case for people living in occupied Donbas, are very welcome to apply for a visa to come visit Canada, using their Ukrainian passport.”

It’s also not clear how people living in rebel-controlled areas can get Ukrainian passports given the logistical difficulties of having to cross an active frontline to get to the government –controlled areas of Ukraine to apply for new travel documents.

Canada considers the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens of Donbas “to be a further act of aggression against Ukraine,” Freeland said.

Canada strongly condemned Russia’s decision to issue passports to Ukrainian citizens in Donbas when it was first announced in late April, Freeland said.

“We, however, think condemnation is not enough and because we believe these passports to be illegitimate, it’s important for us to act on that belief,” Freeland said. “I’m not going to go into technical specifics but let me assure you that this is something that our excellent immigration officials have gone through very carefully.”

Canadian officials have also discussed the measure with some of the like-minded countries that attended the conference in Toronto and have been sharing with them some of the technical know-how of implementing the ban, she said.

“And we very much encourage our partners to share our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity to join us in taking this step,” Freeland said.

Officials at the Russian embassy in Ottawa could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

$45 million to further reforms

Canada will provide more than $45 million in additional funding to Ukraine over the next six years, Freeland announced.

Of that sum, $25 million will go towards funding governance reforms in Ukraine; $6.5 million towards police training projects; $6 million towards institutional and strategic defence reform; $5 million will go towards creating mobile services for Ukrainian citizens in rebel-controlled areas; and $3 million towards gender equality and women’s empowerment projects.

Ottawa also committed to expand and extend its police deployments to Ukraine to 2021. Canada will send up 45 police officers to Ukraine to provide training and strategic support for Ukrainian law enforcement, Freeland said.

The next Ukraine Reform Conference will be held in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, she said.

Zelenskiy’s North American debut

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the Hotel Fairmont Royal York during the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Earlier in the day, Canadian and Ukrainian officials in the presence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed the Joint Declaration on a Youth Mobility Arrangement, that once completed aims to facilitate youth study and work exchanges between Canada and Ukraine, as well as the Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty to create opportunities between Canada’s and Ukraine’s film, television and digital industries.

Canada will continue “to stand with Ukraine against Russian interference and aggression,” Trudeau assured his guest as the two leaders discussed Canada’s mission in Ukraine to train the Ukrainian military as well as the sale of lethal weapons to Kyiv.

The Liberal government cleared the last regulatory obstacle on the way of Canadian sales of lethal weapons to Ukraine in December of 2017 when Ottawa included Ukraine in the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL).

The listing enables Canadian companies and individuals to apply for a permit to export certain prohibited firearms, weapons and devices to Ukraine.

Trudeau said a Canadian company has invested in an ammunition factory in Ukraine without providing additional details.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy listens to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Hotel Fairmont Royal York During the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Zelenskiy, a former comedian and entrepreneur-turned-politician, thanked Trudeau and Canadians for the warm welcome he received on his first official visit to Canada.

Zelenskiy who had visited Canada previously with his comedy troupe admitted that even in his wildest dreams he never thought he would return to Canada as president of Ukraine.

He joked that he felt totally at home in Toronto until he walked into a restaurant and realized that prices in Canadian restaurants were cheaper than in Kyiv.

Zelenskiy, who got more than 73 per cent of the vote in this spring’s presidential election, easily unseating the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, promised to accelerate the pace of reforms in Ukraine despite the external and internal challenges the country faces.

Minutes after his inauguration on May 20, Zelenskiy dissolved the country’s parliament and called for snap elections scheduled for July 21.

A caretaker government loyal to Poroshenko and openly hostile to Zelenskiy continues to govern day-to-day life in Ukraine.

Share
Categories: International, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

3 comments on “Canada to block new Russian passport holders from Eastern Ukraine, says Freeland
  1. Avatar John Gilberts says:

    Freeland’s pathological Russophobia and closeness to the powerful Ukrainian ultranationalist lobby as well as her closeness to the Trump administration
    makes anything emanating from Ottawa under the Trudeau regime immediately suspect. Clearly the results of this Canadian meeting have everything to do with continuing the animosity towards Russia and preserving a pro-Banderite orientation in Kyiv.

  2. Avatar Mark says:

    It would be nice if Chrystia Freeland expended as much effort and thought on the people of Canada as she does in meddling in Ukraine. Eastern Ukrainians are majority ethnic Russians, and can apply for a Russian passport if they wish – normally that would be the sort of freedom democracies would celebrate. But not West-Ukrainian ideologue Freeland, known far and wide as the Canadian Foreign Minister for Ukraine. Don’t think nobody noticed that G7 breakfast at Chateau Freeland, where Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin ‘just happened to drop by’. Getting Freeland out of government must be a goal in the next election, and I for one would even vote Conservative to see that happen, which is a measure of how I loathe her inveigling.

  3. Avatar Janka Pipars says:

    Okay regardless of what she thinks what is really important what the people in Dombass think about getting the Russian passports. Nothing else matters.