NP-UN National Affairs Desk.
The League of Ukrainian Canadians (LUC) and League of Ukrainian Canadian Women (LUCW) are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Members of Parliament, and fellow Canadians to oppose capitulation to Russia on Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression is entering yet a new dangerous phase,” reads a statement issued by the two organizations on March 12. “Unable to defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, Russia is escalating its hybrid war against Ukraine by pushing the Euro-Atlantic community toward appeasement.”
Ukraine and Ukrainian Canadian relations were among the critically important and time sensitive matters taken up at the 28th and 22nd conventions of LUC and LUCW held at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre/Old Mill in Toronto on February 21-23.
“The Ukrainian nation spontaneously mobilized and stopped Russia’s military machine. Initially, Ukrainians did so as volunteer fighters in volunteer battalions. Today, Ukraine boasts the second-largest military in Europe, second only to Russia itself.
“After six years of Russian military aggression, occupation, and illegal annexation, the results are devastating. Almost 14,000 Ukrainians dead, tens of thousands wounded, almost 2 million internal refugees, hundreds of billions of dollars of destruction. Beyond these sobering statistics, Russia continues its hybrid war throughout the country. Russian-sponsored sedition, subversion, terrorist attacks, economic blackmail, information warfare, and fomenting of social unrest and tensions in the region and beyond is part and parcel of Russia’s total war against Ukraine.
“Despite years of war and hardship, the will of Ukrainians to resist remains strong. Ukrainians want peace, but not at any cost, and grassroots civic groups have been mobilizing to form a broad nationwide campaign: Capitulation Resistance Movement (CRM). Ukrainian patriots are responding to policies of appeasement by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, who have succumbed to dictator Vladimir Putin’s insidious plan to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence in exchange for “peace.”
“Under the ‘Steinmeier formula’, terms to achieve peace and restore Ukrainian control of its internationally recognized border would require Ukraine to allow elections in the Donbas prior to establishing full and unfettered control by Ukraine of the territories under Russian occupation, including the removal of all Russian forces, their surrogates and agents of the occupation regimes known as the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LNR and DNR), as well as identifying, arresting and trying suspected war criminals. Further, Russia seeks to force the Ukrainian government to refrain from recognizing the Russian Federation as the aggressor and occupier of Ukrainian territory with all of the legal consequences attendant to such designation. Instead, Russia maintains that Ukraine must recognize and engage with the LNR and DNR as if they are legitimate governmental entities. What is more, the ‘Steinmeier formula’ envisions changes to the Ukrainian Constitution that would accord special autonomous status for Donbas and also would rescind constitutional provisions concerning Ukraine’s quest to join the EU and NATO. Also, there is no mention in the ‘formula’ of revoking the illegal annexation of Crimea and its return to Ukrainian sovereignty.
“Ukrainians recognize, and the League of Ukrainian Canadians shares their conclusion, that Ukraine is being forced to accept not peace but rather capitulation,” continues the statement which call upon the Government of Canada to fully support Ukraine against Russia’s aggression at this critical time by:
- Further isolating Russia on the international stage;
- Imposing enhanced sectoral sanctions on Russia until such time the Kremlin returns Crimea to Ukraine and ceases its aggression in eastern Ukraine;
- Supporting Ukraine as it seeks to receive NATO’s Membership Action Plan;
- Providing lethal military aid to Ukraine’s Armed Forces in line with lethal military aid already provided by the United States and other NATO members;
- Expanding Canada’s Armed Forces mission in Ukraine, “Operation UNIFIER” to the Donbas region;
- Supporting Ukrainian veterans and their families;
- Expanding the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement and providing a visa-free regime for Ukraine; and
- Supporting civil society and democracy-building initiatives in Ukraine, in particular those focused on anti-corruption and an independent media.
“Russia is sowing confusion and discontent among Ukraine’s international partners. Ukraine needs Canada to reassert its leadership role on Ukraine among its Euro-Atlantic allies. During the years before and after the Revolution of Dignity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper demonstrated resolute leadership in standing up for democracy in Ukraine and opposing Russia’s war. Similarly, the Trudeau government supports Ukraine with badly needed assistance for the military and civic sectors, including the recently announced $2.2 million over three years to the Police Assistance Project on Strategic Reform Capacities of the National Police of Ukraine.
“As welcome as this announcement is, we need to do more. Today, as never before, it is in Canada’s vital national interest and Ukraine’s existential interest to redouble our efforts to restore Ukraine’s unfettered sovereignty in Donbas and Crimea in accordance with international norms and not Putin’s imperial demands,” concludes the statement.