The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, today issued the following joint statement on Ukraine’s Independence Day:
“Twenty-eight years ago today, Canada became the first Western country to recognize the independence of Ukraine. In the almost three decades since, we have been proud to work closely with Ukraine on its journey to becoming a prosperous and vibrant democracy.
“We were pleased to welcome President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and many other representatives of the Ukrainian government to Toronto earlier this year for the Ukraine Reform Conference. This successful conference was an opportunity for Canada and the international community to offer their support to Ukraine on its path to making critical democratic and economic reforms.
“Canada was also proud to send a team of elections observers, led by the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, to this year’s presidential and legislative elections. Their work was critical to supporting democracy in Ukraine.
“Canada and Ukraine share common values, including a commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We enjoy close people-to-people ties, with more than 1.3 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent, and growing business ties, underpinned by the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. We cooperate in the defence and security spheres-including Operation UNIFIER, multifaceted assistance and more.
“Canada will always stand with the people of Ukraine in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As we mark the 28th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, we look forward to continuing to work together as close friends and partners in the years to come.”