Harper, Baird Warn Russia to Stop ‘Provocative Actions’

Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and his foreign minister, John Baird, harshly criticized Russia on Friday, demanding it to back down from its military operations near Ukraine to reduce tension in the region. The federal government demanded Russia to honor an agreement enforced years ago that guaranteed Ukraine’s independence.

The statements were prompted by several accusations made by members of Ukraine’s new government that Russia had begun a military invasion. In response to which, Russia confirmed on Friday that its armored vehicles from Black Sea Fleet moved around Crimea for “security” reasons. Mr. Harper mentioned that “as Canadians we emphasize our very strong support – and we emphasize this to all the countries in the region – our very strong support for the territorial integrity and the respect of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” While attending an event in Brampton, Ont., Harper stated that “we remain very supportive of the Ukrainian people in their desire for democracy and a better future.”

On the other hand, Minister Baird straightforwardly warned Russia to halt its “provocative actions.” Speaking via phone call from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Baird stressed that “we’re not going to get into hypotheticals,” and “we’ll be engaging with our friends and allies on this in the days and weeks ahead.” Baird is in Ukraine to lead a Canadian delegation to the country. He did not excused for Canada’s strong stance on Ukraine, and instead alleged that “Canada is not the world’s referee. We stand on the side of the Ukrainian people.”

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