Bezan Banned from Russia
On March 23rd, 2014, it was announced that I was to be included on the list of people receiving sanctions from the Russian Federation, in response to our government's sanctions on Russia for invading Crimea. This announcement was not a surprise since I have always been an outspoken advocate for Ukraine.
I am very proud of my Ukrainian heritage, and to be included on this Russian list of Canadians is a badge of honour. I am honoured to be included with these distinguished Canadians who oppose the invasion of Crimea by Russian forces. I had no plans on traveling to Russia or doing business with Russian oligarchs.
These punitive measures taken by Russia will not silence my criticisms of their illegal military invasion and occupation of Crimea, nor mute my strong support for the people of Ukraine and their transitional government. I will not be intimidated by these Kremlin antics.
I have been put on this list because I am constantly speaking out in favour of Ukraine, condemned the Russian invasion of Crimea, and I have moved motions in the House on this topic. I also recently travelled to Ukraine as a part of the official Canadian mission to meet with the new transition Government of Ukraine, which was led by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, and provided my support for this transitional government.
As I paid my respects to Ukrainians killed and injured on the Maidan, I heard their stories of self-sacrifice and perseverance. It is because of the courage and will of the people of Ukraine that they were able to defeat the corrupt Yanukovych regime.
Canada and our G-7 partners continue to speak with one voice in condemning President Putin's military intervention in Ukraine, and just this past weekend the Prime Minister made a historic visit to Ukraine. He was the first G7 leader to meet with Ukraine's interim government. This visit reaffirms Canada's strong support for the new government of Ukraine as it undertakes a new course that is based on the principle of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Our government is continuing to cooperate closely with our G-7 partners and other allies.
The Government of Canada remains gravely concerned by the situation in Crimea and we will continue to voice our extreme displeasure with the Russian Federation on a variety of levels. Instead of responding to the calls of the international community to withdraw their troops, Russia has continued its provocative actions. Russia is clearly violating their obligations under international law. Russia's aggression is entirely unacceptable.
Although the situation in Ukraine remains fragile and fluid, the priority of our government is the economic and political stability of Ukraine. I heard loud and clear from Ukraine's government leaders and the Maidan activists that they appreciate the strong and principled support for the people of Ukraine by Prime Minister Harper and the Government of Canada. They know that Canada will continue to stand with them during this pivotal moment in Ukraine's history.
I am proud ofour government's actions, and I will continue to be an advocate for Ukraine. Despite these sanctions I will continue to stand in solidarity with those courageous Ukrainians who aspire for a free and democratic Ukraine. Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-determination must be respected by the Russian Federation as guaranteed under international law.