Canada’s PM Harper first G7 leader to visit Ukraine

Stephen Harper

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the first G7 leader to visit the Ukraine since the Ukrainian Crisis began. As he stood alongside Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Harper declared Canada’s full support for the Ukraine and its new government.

In reply to a question raised during a press conference, regarding Russia’s and Putin=s membership in the G8, Harper said:

“As for the question of Russia’s presence in the G8, that’ a discussion we’re going to have with our [G7] colleagues. I don’t think it’ takes much imagination to figure out what my view is but I will certainly listen to what our partners in the G7 have to say before we arrive at final decisions.”

Prime Minister Harper has previously cast doubt on Russia’s presence in the G8 noting that “we should not fool ourselves. This is the G7 plus one.” The remarks were made last June.

The G7 will hold an emergency meeting on the Ukrainian crisis on Monday and Prime Minister Harper will play a key role. Harper accused the Putin of returning international relations to “the law of the jungle.” He warned that Moscow’s seizure of Crimea could harm the cause of nuclear disarmament elsewhere in the world.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has previously warned that he would change his stance on the nuclear talks with Iran. With Russia gaining more influence in the Middle East, the Canadian prime minister’s comments are not that far off the mark.

Ukrainian President called on the G7 to move beyond its current economic co-operation and to build a new global security system as quickly as possible as an answer to those that would violate this system with a strong response.

Putin, in a fiery address to the Russian parliament, Duma, stated exactly the opposite. As reported in Politisite Putin says that the collapse of the Soviet Union has led to to a unipolar world, where Western powers, with the US in the lead, ignored international laws and ruled by the gun. Putin listed the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the bombing of Libya in 2011.

The most ironic example, from Putin’s perspective, was the Western acceptance of Kosovo’s decision to secede from Serbia. Putin called this two faced when the West protests the secession of the Crimea. Of course Serbia was accused of widespread human rights abuses against ethnic Albanians, but after the secession the tables were turned with abuses against a minority of ethnic Serbs. Putin appears bound and determined to correct this imbalance.

As the G7 prepares for its emergency meeting on Monday, seized a Crimean airbase, the last hold out for Ukrainian troops. When Ukrainians refused to surrender, Russian troops used force to enter the base using armored vehicles, automatic gunfire and stun grenades. Instead of taking up arms, Ukrainian troops turned their back on the Russian invaders and sang the Ukrainian anthem.

The current situation has contributed to instability and is partially as a result of the Obama Admininistrations’ famous reset button. The administration cancelled the anti-missile system in Poland, agreed to nuclear arms reduction under the START treaty, with little guarantee from Russia at the time. There was also the famous open mike comment where President Obama told then Prime Minister Medvednev to tell Putin that he (Obama) would have more flexibility after the election.

The late President Ronald Regan was absolutely right when he stated to “Trust but Verify.” As reported in Canada’s Globe and Mail, Prime Minister Harper said that the Crimean takeover will be felt far beyond the borders of Ukraine or even the European continent.

He said Putin’s move could drive other country’s leaders to gird themselves against potential threats.

“By his open repudiation of the Budapest Memorandum, President Putin has undermined international confidence in the protection afforded by such agreements,” Mr. Harper said.

“Ukraine relinquished. the nuclear weapons it inherited from the former Soviet Union on the basis of an explicit Russian guarantee of its territorial integrity,” the prime minister said.
“By breaching that guarantee, President Putin has provided a rationale for those elsewhere who needed little more encouragement than that already furnished by pride or grievance to arm themselves to the teeth.”

Source: Globe and Mail

Canada has more than 1 million Canadians of Ukrainian heritage, a point Stephen Harper highlighted. The majority of Ukrainians to trace their heritage to the Ukraine live in Alberta and the Alberta government has flown the Ukrainian flag on its legislature for the past week.

The world is waiting with anxiety to see what Putin’s next move will be. With Russian troops deployed along the border Eastern and Southern Ukraine, according to Putin on exercise, the tension is high.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, General Breedmore, emphasized that point during and event sponsored by the German Marshall Fund:

“The [Russian] force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizeable and very, very ready,” Breedlove said at an event sponsored by the German Marshall Fund.

Ukraine’s east is also considered under threat; Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that Russia is trying to provoke a conflict there, a charge Russia denies.

Source: Washington Post

Whether or not the G7 and EU can find a way to persuade Putin remains to be seen. Currently he is being hailed a hero in Russia.

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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