The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

MPs decry Ukrainian violence, call for restraint as riot police deploy live ammo

  • Print

OTTAWA - Canadians of Ukrainian origin gathered Wednesday on Parliament Hill to denounce the violence in their homeland's capital city, all the while agonizing about the fate of loved ones caught up in the deadly violence.

Many expressed the fear that proposed sanctions being considered by Canada, the U.S. and the European Union may come too late to save their former country from economic and political disaster.

As they gathered in the shadow of Ottawa's Peace Tower, dozens of people sang and chanted in solidarity with those in Kyiv, where violence has scarred Independence Square and taken the lives of at least 25 people.

Canada's embassy in the Ukrainian capital, meanwhile, remained closed for a second straight day.

Federal MPs James Bezan and Ted Opitz said in a statement they are "disgusted" by the callous behaviour demonstrated by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his regime.

During a bilateral meeting in Mexico, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama were in agreement on several fronts in regards to the Ukrainian crisis, calling it a "welcome step" if a truce was called between the Ukrainian government and opposition leaders.

"We hold the government responsible and urge them to take all the steps necessary to resolve the situation," Harper told a news conference following the meeting.

Harper and Obama also urged the Ukrainian military to show restraint and refrain from becoming involved in issues that should be resolved by civilians, the statement said.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada is considering a range of diplomatic options to send a message to the Yanukovych government, including targeted sanctions.

The Harper government will consult other nations as it considers possible next steps, he said. "I will . . . be consulting our allies and like-minded nations to build a co-ordinated path forward in the coming days."

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, whose province is home to a large Ukrainian-Canadian population, also issued condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

Ottawa resident Olya Korzachenko, who was on hand for Wednesday's protest, said she's been unable to reach relatives in Ukraine for the past two days. It may already be too late for sanctions to have any impact, she warned.

"Enough talk," Korzachenko said as she stood near the centennial flame at the heart of the parliamentary precinct.

"The authorities are moving their own personal millions and billions into banks around the world, and while we talk, all of this is going on — Ukraine is being raped and nobody in the West, nobody in Europe is doing anything."

The escalating anger over the protests, and the government's crackdown, has fuelled fears that Ukraine could be sliding toward civil war.

But protesters in Ottawa largely dismissed that notion, blaming Russia for the violence. Ukrainians would not fight Ukrainians, they vowed. Indeed, there have already been reports of security forces in Kyiv surrendering to protest groups.

Sanctions against Ukraine could include a travel ban on prominent officials and a freezing of assets belonging to the powerful oligarchs who back Yanukovych.

Canada will also provide medical supplies to Ukrainian activists through a contribution to a Ukrainian non-governmental organization.

As the protests continued in Kyiv, Yanukovych said he had replaced the chief of the country's armed forces.

The presidential decree came as Ukraine's acting defence minister said the army was considering a nationwide anti-terrorist operation to restore order.

Yanukovych's government has frequently referred to the protesters demanding his resignation as "terrorists."

History

Updated on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:53 PM CST: Adds video.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Paul Maurice addresses media at end of 13/14 season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060710 The full moon rises above the prairie south of Winnipeg Monday evening.
  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Manitoba needs stronger regulations for temporary workers?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google