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

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

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

Moscow has stationed more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, and the United States said Friday it feared Russia was preparing a pretext to invade if diplomacy failed to meet its objectives. read more

Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian ethnic origin, has taken a hard line with Moscow since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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“Gathering Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine endangers security in the entire region. These 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 with a 200-strong Canadian training mission that has been there since 2015.

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

Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 440 individuals and entities for its annexation of Crimea.

Joly, who will embark on a week-long trip to Europe on Sunday, will visit Brussels to meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Josep Borrell, the European Union’s head of foreign policy.

She will also go 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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