Ukraine and Russia

In 2014 Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea.  For the first time since the end of the Second World War, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council forcibly seized and sought unilaterally to assert sovereignty over the territory of a neighbouring state.


This reckless behaviour represents a significant threat to the postwar peace.  Vladimir Putin undertook this aggression because he failed to foresee a popular uprising against former Ukrainian President Yanukovych and detected a lack of political will to oppose his military actions on the part of the United States and NATO allies.  Unfortunately, this Russian belligerence is not an isolated incident.  It represents a serious escalation of Moscow’s efforts since 1991 to support and strengthen separatist enclaves in Transdniestria (Moldova), Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia), as well as the 2005 invasion of Georgia.


Ukraine is an independent state with full sovereignty over its entire territory, internationally recognized borders, and a proud history.  The future of Ukraine will be pivotal to international peace and security, including the future success of NATO and the European Union.  With allies, Canada staked its credibility on European security issues in part on the timely and unambiguous recognition of Ukrainian independence in December 1991 – just over one quarter of a century ago.  It is vital that Canada and all its partners remain strongly engaged to ensure Ukraine exercises full sovereignty over its entire territory; integrates further into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions; successfully reforms its national economy, public sector and justice institutions; and delivers prosperity and better lives for its people.


As Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Prime Minister of Canada I would:


(i)             toughen the sanctions regime comprehensively to include all Russian office holders, military and intelligence officers, businesspeople, companies, state agencies, media, civil society organizations and others (including Igor Sechin and Vladimir Yakunin) involved in the invasion and illegal occupation of Ukraine (including killings, abductions and torture) to ensure they and their families are subject to far-reaching travel, asset and financial transaction bans;


(ii)           work to suspend the access of sanctioned entities to the SWIFT network;


(iii)          enact Magnitsky-type sanctions against those responsible for the extrajudicial murders of Sergei Magnitsky, Aleksandr Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya, Boris Nemtsov and other political opponents of the Putin regime, as well as for the destruction by Russian military personnel of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17;


(iv)          scale up Canada’s defense partnership with Ukraine by expanding training of Ukrainian combat forces under Operation UNIFIER, providing lethal weapons systems to defend Ukrainian territory and sovereignty, concluding the Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Agreement, and developing new capabilities;


(v)           partner with Ukraine to prevent and treat combat casualties, as well as to prevent, diagnose and treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other operational stress injuries within the Ukrainian armed forces;


(vi)          deploy Canada’s good offices in support of the government of Ukraine’s efforts to create an international platform to bring about the de-occupation of Crimea by the Russian state, the full resumption of Ukrainian control, and an end to systematic human rights violations in Crimea by Russia, particularly against members of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities;


(vii)        launch a large-scale strategic partnership with Ukraine to support market-based reforms, public sector transformation, effective justice institutions and further integration into European/Euro-Atlantic institutions and the wider global economy;


(viii)       maintain Ukraine as a country of focus for Canadian international assistance, while fully implementing the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement;


(ix)          establish a Ukrainian- and Russian-language digital capacity to broadcast, post and stream quality reporting on the conflict and on Ukrainian and regional affairs to all relevant audiences;


(x)           play a role of leadership in promoting the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to membership in NATO and their integration into other European and Euro-Atlantic institutions;


(xi)          deepen Canada’s strategic partnership with Europe to find long-term alternatives to dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies;


(xii)        advocate and participate in a strengthened NATO posture of deterrence, including in the cyber domain, to prevent further Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Baltic states or elsewhere;


(xiii)       pursue all avenues now available in international law, including the current case before the International Court of Justice, to penalize Russia for its illegal aggression, invasion and illegal occupation of parts of Ukraine.


(xiv)       actively support free Russian media, civil society, human rights defenders and the organized political opposition to Russia’s authoritarian regime and lead international efforts to draw attention and scrutiny to Russian human rights violations; and


(xv)        actively champion the territorial integrity of Moldova and Georgia and promote initiatives to end Russian interference in these and any other countries targeted by Putin’s Kremlin for destabilization, infiltration or subversion.


Released January 12, 2017

Updated March 10, 2017

Alexandra Day