Baird Confirms Nine Members of Russian Military to Be Expelled from Canada

By Rakobowchuk, Peter | The Canadian Press, March 7, 2014 | Go to article overview

Baird Confirms Nine Members of Russian Military to Be Expelled from Canada


Rakobowchuk, Peter, The Canadian Press


Canada to expel Russian military personnel: Baird

--

MONTREAL - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will suspend practically all its military relations with Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine.

Baird also confirmed Friday that the federal government will expel nine Russian soldiers who are training in Canada "to let them know they are no longer welcome."

The expulsions send the "powerful" message to Russia that it will not be business as usual when a sovereign country is invaded and occupied, he said.

"That Soviet tactic may have been acceptable in the last century, but it's not acceptable in 2014," Baird told a news conference after meeting with members of Montreal's Ukrainian community.

"We will suspend practically all our bilateral interactions. The prime minister has ordered that we suspend all scheduled bilateral activities between Canadian armed forces and the Russian Federation."

He also said Canada and other countries were working on imposing economic sanctions against Russia.

Baird's comments came shortly after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the imposition of travel bans to Canada for people "responsible for threatening the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."

The prime minister did not identify who these people might be in his statement or indicate whether they had applied for travel to Canada or were regular visitors.

The statement said the ban was to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Baird also said that both he and Harper are in close communication with Canada's G-7 partners and other like-minded allies.

On Friday, Harper spoke separately with French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron about Ukraine.

The prime minister said in a separate statement the leaders agreed that a de-escalation of the situation is in the world's best interests.

The leaders also exchanged views on actions to support Ukraine and encourage an immediate withdrawal of Russia's military to its bases.

Baird said he spoke with the new Italian foreign minister and his Turkish counterpart Friday.

"We all agree that Ukrainian sovereignty must be respected and we'll continue to co-ordinate how best to respond to this evolving situation," Baird said. …

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