August 11, 2016. OTTAWA. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) strongly condemns the Russian Federation’s military escalation, its aggressive, provocative statements, and continued refusal to honour a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
Large movements of Russian troops, tanks, artillery and other materiel into the occupied territories of Crimea and the Donbas over the last week have been reported. Heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions by Russian and proxy forces in the Donbas are a daily occurrence as Russia continues to blatantly violate the Minsk Agreements to which it is a signatory. Ukrainian soldiers being killed and wounded as a result of these attacks has become a daily occurrence.
On August 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged that Ukraine’s military intelligence services had supposedly organized a “sabotage and reconnaissance group” that infiltrated Crimean territory. Putin accused Ukraine of “turning to terror.” He stated, ominously, that “We will do everything we can, of course, to ensure security at infrastructure facilities and protect people, and we will take additional security measures, serious additional measures, technical and others.”
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and all Ukrainian authorities have strongly refuted these mendacious claims. President Poroshenko stated yesterday, “Russian accusations that Ukraine launched terror attacks in the occupied Crimea are equally cynical and insane as its claims there is no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. These fantasies pursue [one] goal: a pretext for more military threats against Ukraine. Ukraine resolutely condemns terrorism in all its forms and shapes. We would never ever use terror to de-occupy Crimea. Russia provides money and arms to support terrorism in Ukraine. It became a state-led policy on the occupied areas of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. […]Ukraine is devoted to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity exclusively through political and diplomatic means. That includes de-occupation of Crimea.”
President Poroshenko’s full statement is available here: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/zvinuvachennya-rosijskoyu-storonoyu-ukrayini-u-terorizmi-v-o-37845
As US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt stated today, the “US government has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russian allegations of a ‘Crimea incursion’ and Ukraine has strongly refuted them. Russia has a record of frequently levying false accusations at Ukraine to deflect attention from its own illegal actions. Our view on Crimea’s status is well known. Crimea is, and will always remain, part of Ukraine. Our Crimea related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine.”
The movement of Russian troops and weapons, together with the baseless accusations levelled by Russia are an extremely troubling sign that Russia intends to seriously escalate its military invasion of Ukraine.
“Putin’s ridiculous accusations against Ukraine are part of a tried-and-true Russian playbook of manufacturing a crisis and then ‘responding’ to it by military aggression. We have seen this before – in Georgia, in Russian-occupied Crimea, and in the Russian-occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts,” stated Paul Grod, National President of the UCC. “These latest provocations by Russia demand a firm and robust response from the international community.”
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress called on Canada to:
- Strongly condemn the mendacious accusations by the Russian Federation made against Ukraine;
- Significantly increase sanctions on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s increasing aggression, including banning Russia from the SWIFT international payments system;
- Immediately provide Ukraine with defensive weapons, including anti-tank weapons and equipment it needs to defend its territorial integrity and the lives of the civilian population.
Please contact your Member of Parliament to express your concerns and to encourage them to promote UCC’s recommendation for Canada’s Support to Ukraine. The UCC recently prepared a Policy Brief on the Situation in Ukraine for Canada’s Members of Parliament. The Briefing can be downloaded here: August16 UCC Briefing Note to MPs
To find the contacts for your Member of Parliament by Postal Code, please see here http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?Menu=HOC