October 14, 2020


Selkirk, MB – James Bezan, Shadow Minister for National Defence and Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman today issued the following statement on Defender of Ukraine Day:


“Today, I join Ukrainian Canadians and Ukrainians around the world as we celebrate the fifth annual Defender of Ukraine Day.


“Ukrainians have fought hard for their independence and sovereignty. To honour the contributions of every Ukrainian who fought for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Government of Ukraine established this new holiday five years ago, following Russia’s illegal occupation of the Donbas and annexation of Crimea.


“I offer my thanks to all who have stood on the front lines, protested on the Maidan, and supported democracy and the rule of law. These are the true defenders of Ukraine. Canada’s Conservatives are proud to stand with them as they face mounting threats against their sovereignty and freedom from Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin proxies.


“I also want to thank all of the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have contributed to Operation UNIFIER since 2015. This operation began under our previous Conservative government and to this day provides crucial support and training to the Ukrainian military. As Russian aggression at the direction of Putin continues, Ukraine needs strong international support from its allies.


“Canada can and should do more to hold Russian officials to account for this unwarranted military aggression in Ukraine. Canada’s Magnitsky sanctions law must be used to its fullest extent, including when it comes to bringing those responsible for the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to justice. These gross and ongoing human rights violations cannot be allowed to go on unpunished.


“On behalf of our Conservative caucus, I extend my best wishes to all Ukrainian Canadians and Ukrainians around the world as they celebrate Defender of Ukraine Day!”