Canada Presses for UN Peacekeeping Force in Ukraine

Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland in 2013. Photo: Joseph Morris, Corporate Video Production Toronto

The Canadian government is making a significant diplomatic push to secure the establishment of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Ukraine, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Thursday.

“Around the world Canada has been leading conversations with a number of countries about the viability and utility of peacekeeping and policing in Ukraine,” Ms. Freeland said in a statement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pressed the issue with his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, she added.

Ms. Freeland said she “personally explored the feasibility and prospects of such a mission” with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker, as well as with the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week.

“Our government has been at the heart of international efforts to support Ukraine and we are working hard to ensure any peacekeeping effort guarantees Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ms. Freeland said.

Proposals have been floated at the United Nations in recent months for a peacekeeping force in eastern Ukraine but failed to get unanimous agreement, with Russia – which has a veto on the Security Council – preferring a small UN force to protect international observers monitoring the conflict zone.

About 1.2 million Canadians, including Ms. Freeland, have Ukrainian ancestry, and consecutive Canadian governments have sided with Kiev in its conflict with Moscow since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

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