Ukraine calls for further Canadian sanctions on Russia after boats seized

Ukraine calls for further Canadian sanctions on Russia after boats seized

OTTAWA — Ukraine is asking Canada to apply more sanctions on Russia as fresh tensions between the eastern European neighbours threaten to erupt into open conflict.

The country’s ambassador made the appeal during an appearance before a Commons committee on Tuesday in which he also asked that Canada extend its military training mission in his country and support its bid to join the NATO military alliance.

Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko also confirmed that Ukraine is close to buying high-powered sniper rifles from a Canadian company, but said Kyiv is still hoping the federal government will agree to provide weapons as aid.

Shevchenko’s committee appearance, alongside counterparts from Georgia and Moldova, came weeks after Russian forces opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 sailors during a confrontation in the Black Sea.

The incident has been described as the worst round of direct violence between the two countries in years and followed Russia’s support for elections in two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, votes condemned by Canada and others.

The three ambassadors were unsparing in their criticisms of Russian actions in eastern Europe, which they described as intentionally destabilizing, and warned that what happens there will have ramifications on the rest of the continent.

Yet while all three thanked Canada for its support over the years, Shevchenko also asked that Canada tighten its sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the naval confrontation and elections in Donetsk and Luhansk.

New U.S. and European sanctions had been imposed even before the two Ukrainian gunboats and tugboat were seized near the Kerch Strait on Nov. 25, and Shevchenko hopes the incident and elections would prompt Canada to take follow suit.

“We believe it’s a good time to go about step up the sanctions,” he told The Canadian Press.

after the committee meeting. “Our view is that Canada is exploring new ways to put pressure on Russia. We also feel there is co-ordination between Canada and its western allies, and we welcome it.”

Russia has accused Ukraine of instigating the incident, in waters near the Crimean Peninsula, but Canada and other countries have sided with Ukraine in blaming Moscow.

The ambassador also confirmed talks are underway over renewing Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine, which was established in 2015 and has seen Canadian troops train thousands of Ukrainian counterparts.

The mission, involving 200 troops, is set to expire in March, but Shevchenko said his government is pushing for an extension as well as an expansion that will include adding more personnel as part of an increased NATO presence in the country.

As for NATO, Shevchenko said his country is hoping Canada will lead the charge to admit Ukraine as a member after his country’s parliament agreed last month to draft constitutional changes that its president says will compel future governments to seek to join the European Union and NATO.

Canada was one of the champions of such a move in the past and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s spokesman, Adam Austen, said in an email late Tuesday that “Canada is committed to helping Ukraine realize its ambitions of becoming a member of NATO.”

But many alliance members have taken a more cautious approach in recent years amid concerns such a move could spark a major war with Russia, which has lashed out at NATO encroachment and given that an attack on one member is to be treated as an attack on all.

Ukraine’s sniper-rifle purchase was made possible when the Liberals added the country to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List. And while other arms deals are in the works, Shevchenko said Kyiv is still holding out hope, even after years of fruitless requests, that Ottawa will provide heavier weaponry to help Ukrainian forces better defend themselves.

“Many things have changed,” Shevchenko said of Canada’s rejection of past requests for lethal aid. “A lot of things have happened to make Canada much (more) concerned and serious about the Russian interference into Ukraine.”

— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read