NP-UN National Affairs Desk.
Governor General Julie Payette reiterated Canada’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity during her meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at Lviv’s Potocki Palace, January 18.
“Canada has been at the forefront of the international community’s support for Ukraine, because our countries share important values that include respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This is what we stand for as people, and this is why we work together as partners,” she stated.
“In pursuit of this objective, working closely with Ukrainians, Canada will continue to:
- Provide loans and development assistance in support of institutional reforms and sustainable economic growth;
- Extend humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine; and
- Support initiatives that help with conflict resolution, reduce corruption, and defend and promote human rights for all Ukrainians.”
“To solidify our bilateral relations, we have recently signed the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) to increase prosperity and create opportunities for businesses.
“And we are cooperating through our military in addressing security and defence challenges. Canada’s Operation Unifier, currently ongoing, provides tactical readiness and capacity building assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“We are particularly grateful for this relationship, because we have been learning a lot from you. It is an honour to have the opportunity to reaffirm our friendship,” added Payette.
The Governor General also noted that Ukrainian Canadians “have left a profound mark on the development of Canada and continue to make contributions in all aspects of Canadian life.
“Two of my Canadian astronaut colleagues have Ukrainian roots. And some of our most famous and talented hockey players have Ukrainian origins. Distinguished Canadians of Ukrainian descent have excelled as artists, authors and musicians and have occupied business and political positions at the highest echelons. In fact, one of my predecessors, the 24th governor general of Canada, the late Ray Hnatyshyn, was one of them,” she said.
The governor General arrived in Lviv late on January 7 and began her official program the following day.
It started with a meeting with Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy and a visit to the Memorial to Fallen Soldiers of Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation. Afterwards, Payete and General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, met with members of the Canadian and Ukrainian Armed Forces at the Military Law and Order Service (MLOS) Academy. Canadian’s Operation Unifier was crucial to the reopening of the MLOS Academy in September 2017 after it had been decommissioned in 2012.
Later, the Governor General visited Potocki Palace, where she met with Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, to discuss Canada-Ukraine bilateral relations and to reaffirm Canada’s support for Ukraine. During the visit, Poroshenko announced that since the implementation of the CUFTA last summer, trade between the two countries has grown by 60%.
In the afternoon, Payette and General Vance travelled to the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi to see Operation Unifier in action. This mission aims to provide military training and capacity building assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This encounter allowed for an exchange with the Canadian men and women who are committed to helping Ukraine remain sovereign, secure and stable.
In the evening, the Governor General departed for Riga, Latvia.