Ottawa- James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk Interlake Eastman, released the following statement on the 4th anniversary of the illegal occupation and annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea by the Federation of Russian, and making the restoration of peace a priority at the upcoming G7 Leaders’ Summit:

“It has been four years since the illegal occupation and annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea by the Russian Federation. This invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory marked the first time since the Second World War that a European state seized territory from another European state using military force.

“Since then, Russia has continued to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity by supplying trained Russian federation troops and equipment to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. With these actions, Russia continues to violate international law and norms in its quest for an undemocratic and unstable Ukraine.

“I was in Ukraine when the Russian Federation sent its ‘little green men’ into Crimea to illegally annex the territory. The impact of the invasion had a traumatic effect on the Ukrainian people then, as it does today. We owe it to the Ukrainians who currently live under the authoritarian rule of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, and the almost 4,000 brave Ukrainians who gave their lives to defend a democratic Ukraine, to not let the world forget this conflict. Overall, this war has led to the deaths of 10,303 individuals, wounded 24,778, and displaced over 1,414,798 Ukrainians.

“Canada’s Conservatives have remained steadfast in their support for Ukraine. The Conservative Party of Canada has urged on the Liberal Government on multiple occasions to reinstatement RADARSAT imagery and provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with lethal defensive weapons. On both these items, the Liberals have failed to answer the call and provide Ukraine with the equipment they need to protect their territorial integrity.

“Canada is in a unique position to be an international leader for peace in Ukraine. As the President of the G7 for the 2018 year, Canada must commit to making Ukraine a priority at this year’s summit. This was outlined in recommendation 15 of the Liberal and Conservative bi-partisan report on Ukraine from the Standing Committee on National Defense which read, “That the Government of Canada considers furthering Ukrainian interests at the G7.”

“Canada must do all that we can to aid Ukraine in their struggle for territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression. We will never forget the war that wages on in Eastern Ukraine, and we will never recognize Crimea as Russian territory.