Ottawa – Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, and Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement:
“Today, Canada joins people in Ukraine and Ukrainian communities around the world in marking the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
“While we celebrate this milestone, we also recognize that the past six months have been profoundly difficult for people in Ukraine and Ukrainian communities abroad, as they deal with the widespread human suffering caused by the Russian invasion and, for many, the senseless deaths of loved ones.
“Canada and Ukraine have fostered a strong relationship since Ukraine declared its independence. Canada is home to 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent, and ours was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991.
“Our two countries have a long history of defence cooperation, currently underpinned by Operation UNIFIER, our military training mission in support of Ukraine. Ukraine’s independence is today under threat, but we have seen first-hand—and we deeply admire—the tremendous progress of Ukraine’s security forces against Russia’s aggression. We take this opportunity to again condemn the Putin regime’s illegal and unprovoked invasion in the strongest possible terms.
“Canada is unwavering and steadfast in our support for Ukraine and its brave people as they fight for their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence in the face of Russia’s unjustifiable actions. We stand with all Ukrainians fighting for democracy as the world faces authoritarian forces trying to tear down the international rules-based order.
“Canada will continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine while addressing the country’s emerging needs. The Government of Canada pledges to support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction and its path to EU membership. We will also continue to support international efforts to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities being committed. Canada will be there every step of the way to foster long-lasting peace in Ukraine and to support its future as a sovereign, democratic and prosperous state.
“Ukraine’s national anthem reminds us that ‘Ще не вмерла України і слава, і воля’ [Ukraine has not yet perished]. Far from it: Ukrainians are bravely fighting back. We salute their incredible courage and determination as they continue to fight for their freedom against authoritarian aggression.
“Canada will continue to support Ukraine as we have since the beginning.”