Ukraine-Canada: A New Phase. Marta Dyczok reports from Kyiv.

The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the only G7 leader who traveled to Kyiv for the inauguration on June 7th

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The first foreign leader Petro Poroshenko met with as President, was Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper was the only G7 leader who traveled to Kyiv for the inauguration on June 7th. As Poroshenko was taking his oath, Harper tweeted, “Canada has and will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Canada often gets overshadowed by larger international actors like the EU and the US. But throughout the EuroMaidan protests, and after Russia’s invasion, Canada had a very active Ukraine policy. Harper consistently made statements condemning violence, calling for peaceful solutions.

Canada was one of the first countries to threaten and introduce economic sanctions against corrupt Ukrainian officials, then against Russians after they invaded Ukraine. It also successfully advocated excluding Russia from the G7. Harper visited Kyiv on March 22nd to support the interim government, at a time when things looked bleak.

Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Paul Grod was with Harper then, and again in June. For months, he and the UCC had lobbied the Canadian government to act on Ukraine. They organized support protests throughout Canada, collected and sent money to Maidan activists, and later to the Ukrainian armed forces.

When Poroshenko met the Canadian delegation in Kyiv, he thanked the Canadian government and the Ukrainian diaspora. Noting that Canada was the first Western country that recognized Ukraine’s independence in 1991, he said,

“We can count on you as our closest friends. I’m convinced that after the inauguration we can begin a new phase of relations between Ukraine and Canada.”

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