Thursday, September 24, 2020

Canada set to sign trade deal, defence co-operation agreement with Ukraine

Canada is on the cusp of finalizing a defence co-operation agreement with Ukraine, and the country’s ambassador tells CBC News he’s hopeful the Trudeau government will soon allow Canadian companies to export weapons to the embattled nation.

Deepening ties and showing solidarity with the war-weary government in Kyiv is one of the major themes of the next few days as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departs this afternoon for high-level meetings in eastern Europe.

The defence co-operation deal would allow for more direct Canadian military and defence industrial support for Ukraine.

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“We are in conversations with the Canadian government, and the good news is we have practically completed negotiations between our ministries of defence, and this should provide the legal framework for — in the future — closer co-operation between our two countries,” Andriy Shevchenko, the recently appointed Ukrainian ambassador, told CBC News.

It is unlikely the deal will be ready for signature, either at this weekend’s NATO summit, or when Trudeau visits Kyiv early next week.

Trudeau departed for Warsaw Thursday afternoon, accompanied by his son, Xavier, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance.

The agreement could prove an additional irritation as the Liberal government attempts to reboot Ottawa’s relationship with Moscow — which is already upset over Canada’s decision to contribute troops and a headquarters unit to a new NATO force.

The Liberals have promised to “re-engage” with Russia

“Engage on what? Talk about what?” Shevchenko asked. “I think at the end of the day it pretty much comes to a moral choice. And it comes to taking sides.”

Read more at cbc.ca

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Executive Editor

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