November 26, 2018
Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
We are writing on a most urgent matter. Russia’s blockade of the Azov Sea and attack on Ukraine’s ships is another violation of international law requiring immediate response. We thank you for your statement “support for Ukraine and for the condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea” and for seeking the release of the detained Ukrainians. Regretfully, Russia is immune to words. Therefore, we ask for more; that in concert with other like-minded states Canada seeks punishment for Russia’s latest aggression commensurate with its growing and unrelenting disruption of the world order. It’s latest violation of international law and state sovereignty calls for strong, decisive measures that will be taken seriously by President Vladimir Putin rather than mocked, as has been the case with the current economic sanctions operating to date. This time, they must be strong enough to act as a deterrent rather than an encouragement for further aggression.
Today more than Ukraine’s safety is at stake. We believe that under his rule, Russia has become the most dangerous threat to peace and stability in the world. We also believe that by applying inadequate punishment for Russia’s criminal aggression since President Putin came to power, the West has encouraged the repeat criminal behaviour. We failed to deal adequately in Georgia, Crimea, Donbas, Syria and elsewhere. Now we also have Russia’s cyber warfare, fake news, interference in elections, and poisonings in Britain. President Putin is on a warpath of one form or another and must be stopped.
However, western democracies sent a strong message to the former Soviet Union when it invaded Afghanistan. It led to the collapse of a totalitarian empire that enslaved some three hundred million people. Today we must act decisively against an autocrat that is moving toward the resurrection of global Soviet totalitarianism and bringing the world to the edge of war.
To this end, we ask Canada to lead the G-20 countries in disinviting President Putin immediately from their meeting in Argentina next week. Also, that the new round of sanction against Russia exclude it from SWIFT and place President Putin on the list. To this end we support the call for similar actions made by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and others.
As always, we count on the power of suasion and the respect that Canada has among its like-minded colleagues to move swiftly and punish Russia adequately for its criminal aggression before it escalates any further. We thank you for considering our concerns and fears for the future of not only Ukraine, but Canada and democracy as we know it if Mr. Putin’s Russia is not checked and pushed back.
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Dr. Ihor Cap
Right Honourable Justin Trudeau Helene Laverdiere,
MP Peter Boehm, DM for G7 Summit Randall Garrison,
MP Ian Shugart DM, Global Affairs Pierre Paul-Hus,
MP Stefanie Beck, ADM, Europe Middle East & Maghreb Mathew Dube,
MP Leigh Sarty, DG, European Affairs Borys Wrzesnewskyj
MP Dalia Stein, Director G7,
Operations Senator Raynell Andreychuk
Kevin Rex, Director Eastern Europe Div.
Ambassador Roman Waschuk
Adam Austen, Director of Communications,
FA Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko
Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan,
MP James Temerty C.M.
Hon. Ralph Goodale
MP Paul Grod, UCC
Hon. Andrew Scheer,
MP Eugene Czolij, UWC
Jagmeet Singh, Leader NDP
Hon. Erin O’Toole, MP
James Bezan MP
Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine
Groupe canadien pour la démocratie en Ukraine
Канадськa Група сприяння демократії в УкраїніCGforDU@gmail.com
44 Belvedere Cres.
Ottawa ON K1M 2G4