Canadian foreign minister to visit Ukraine, vows to deter Russian aggression

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (out of frame) at the State Department in Washington, DC on November 12, 2021. Olivier Douliery/Pool via REUTERS

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OTTAWA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly will travel to Kyiv next week to reaffirm her support for Ukrainian sovereignty and strengthen efforts to deter “aggressive actions” by Russia, a announced on Saturday Ottawa.

Moscow has stationed more than 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine, and the United States said on Friday it fears Russia could prepare a pretext to invade if diplomacy fails to achieve its goals. Read more

Canada, with a large and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a hard line with Moscow since annexing Crimea in 2014.

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“The accumulation of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine jeopardizes security throughout the region. Such aggressive actions must be deterred,” Joly said in a statement.

“Canada will work with its international partners to maintain the rules-based international order.”

Joly will meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal and travel to the west of the country to speak to a 200-man Canadian training mission that has been there since 2015.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday and “emphasized that any military incursion into Ukraine would have serious consequences, including coordinated sanctions,” Trudeau’s office said.

Canada imposed punitive measures on more than 440 individuals and entities following the annexation of Crimea.

Joly, who begins a week-long trip to Europe on Sunday, will travel to Brussels to meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

She will also travel to Paris for talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the statement said.

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Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Sandra Maler

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