Canada announces $220M in aid to Ukraine
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:16PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 13, 2014 5:03PM EDT
Canada will contribute $220 million to Ukraine as part of a broader international aid effort to “promote sustainable economic growth” and democratic governance in Ukraine.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Thursday a $200 million loan and another $20 million in “technical assistance,” all to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy amidst the ongoing crisis in that country.
The money is to be administered through the International Monetary Fund as part of a larger aid package.
Another $900,000 will be provided to help stabilize Ukraine’s National Bank.
“Ultimately this support will help the government of Ukraine stabilize its economy at this crucial time,” Baird told reporters Thursday afternoon in the foyer of the House of Commons. “And the legitimate new government of Ukraine is demonstrating the resolve that is required to make the tough decisions that it must for the future success of its nation and its people.”
Baird said the aid will “include the necessary safeguards” to ensure “accountability and transparency” over how it is spent.
The aid package is the latest move by the Harper government in response to the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. Nearly 100 people were killed after anti-government protests in the capital turned violent, spurring former president Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country in the night.
Russian President Vladimir Putin then ordered soldiers to the Crimean Peninsula, where they have taken hold of military bases, border crossings and have blocked the movement of two Ukrainian warships. Lawmakers in the Crimean legislature voted last week to break from Ukraine and join Russia, a decision that will be put to voters in a referendum to be held Sunday.
Canada and other world powers have said they will not recognize the referendum’s results, calling the vote illegitimate.
Last week, the Harper government announced that it would send two representatives to join an international military observer mission in Ukraine established by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Canada also suspended all previously planned military exercises with Russia over its incursion into the Crimean Peninsula, and expelled nine Russian soldiers who were training here.
Canada has also frozen the assets of 18 members of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s regime at the request of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, and has also imposed a travel ban against Ukrainian officials responsible for violence in Ukraine.
Baird said Thursday that Canada continues to monitor the situation in Crimea, and “will continue to pressure Russia to do the right thing through diplomatic and political means.”
And, he added, Canada is “prepared to do more” if Sunday’s referendum goes forward.