Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Putin's Aggression in Crimea Exposes Russia to Sanctions, and Worse

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Putin's Aggression in Crimea Exposes Russia to Sanctions, and Worse

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Putin's aggression in Crimea exposes Russia to sanctions, and worse

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published March 17:

Canada's sympathy for Ukraine can't roll back the damage in Crimea. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserves credit for planning to visit Kyiv this week to show support for the beleaguered government in the face of aggression. Symbolic as the gesture is, Ukrainians need to know they are not without friends in a dark hour.

With cynical disdain for international law, Russian President Vladimir Putin has played the part of a criminal 19th-century imperialist, seizing Crimea by force, encouraging ethnic Russians to take over the local government and presiding over a bogus secession referendum at gunpoint. Now that he has endorsed Crimea's "sovereignty," he has paved the way to annexing the region. This sets back the European political clock 60 years.

Not content with Ukraine's partial dismemberment, Putin also is demanding that Kyiv devolve more power to its Russian-populated regions, and further kowtow to Moscow by adopting a "neutral political and military status."

This is outrage piled on top of illegality and it will cost the Kremlin whatever influence it had over Kyiv. Harper is right to declare that Canada will "never" recognize the referendum or its outcome. It's an illegal assault on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, intended as payback for Kyiv's recent tilt toward Europe. Indeed the United Nations Security Council declared the referendum has "no validity" in a 13 to 1 vote with China abstaining, and urged the world not to recognize its results. Only Russia's veto blocked the resolution from being adopted.

As U.S. President Barack Obama has said, Putin's naked land grab and pressure tactics can only "further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world."

Canada and its allies have now slapped sanctions on ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and his corrupt pro-Moscow entourage, on senior Russian government advisers and on Crimean separatist leaders. …

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