Canada and the Ukrainian Crisis

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Head of Canadian Department.
Affiliation: Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Moscow, Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 62 Issue 12

Canada‘s attitude to the events in Ukraine in 2013–2018 is determined by two factors: general solidarity with western countries and the presence of a large Ukrainian diaspora there. Initially (November 2013 – February 2014), Canada viewed the Ukrainian crisis as an internal political one. However, after the entry of Crimea into Russia, Ottawa began to consider the crisis as international, as a confrontation between Russia and the West. It began to impose the first sanctions against Russia after the Crimean referendum. Primarily, these sanctions were rather limited, but after the beginning of full-scale hostilities in the east of Ukraine in the summer-autumn of 2014, Canada began to introduce sectoral sanctions. Ottawa‘s active participation in various programs of military assistance to Kiev reflects not only solidarity with other member countries of NATO. The Ukrainian diaspora represented by its chief lobby – the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – forces the Canadian government to act more actively in Ukraine, including the military sphere. Military assistance to Kiev is in the context of Ottawa‘s support of Ukraine’s membership in NATO. On the other hand, it is often necessary to separate the real Canadian aid to Ukraine from the “grandstanding”. For example, the discussion in Canada about participation in a possible UN peacekeeping operation in Ukraine was initiated by the Conservative Party primarily as an opportunity to weaken their political opponents – the ruling Liberal Party in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of 2019. The conservatives‘ proposal for a UN peacekeeping operation contained elements that made it impossible for Russia to accept this proposal. Canadian military assistance to Ukraine is becoming more and more significant and diverse. Ottawa is ready to supply lethal weapons to Kiev. In spite of it, Canada reluctantly agreed to deploy its troops in Latvia. Ottawa took this step not because of the NATO’s request, but under U.S. pressure.

KeywordsCanada, Ukrainian crisis, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, sanctions, NATO, Canada’s foreign policy.
Publication date14.01.2019
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