May 18, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“On this day in 1944, hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatar children, women and men were forcibly deported from the Crimean peninsula by Soviet authorities. Today, we honour the memory of those who lost their lives and those others who suffered so greatly.
“Canada remains deeply concerned by the dire human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula, which is under continued and illegal Russian occupation, as well as by the mistreatment of the Crimean Tatar people and the destruction of their historic sites. We continue to denounce Russia’s banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and call for Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.
“In March 2019, Canada imposed new sanctions on Russia in response to its breaching of international rules, including its ongoing occupation of Crimea. We condemn Russia’s decision to extend citizenship to Ukrainian citizens, a decision that carries serious implications and forms part of Russia’s playbook, aimed at destabilizing the region.
“In my visit to Ukraine last week, I reaffirmed Canada’s continued and unwavering friendship with the people of Ukraine and our commitment to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are also committed to working closely with the Crimean Tatar community to denounce the injustices they face and find concrete ways to protect their human rights. Until Russia respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law, the international community and Canada will continue to maintain pressure, including through economic sanctions.”
- In February and March 2014, Russian forces occupied the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. Following the unconstitutional “referendum” on March 16, 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on March 18, 2014 purporting to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation.