"Canada reaffirms its enduring commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and condemns actions taken by Russia towards the forcible integration of the Crimean peninsula into Russia, including through the opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge in May 2018," Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Chrystia Freeland, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
She drew attention to serious human rights violations on the peninsula after its illegal annexation. "Since Russia’s occupation of Crimea, we have witnessed severe human rights violations—committed by state agents of Russia—including the suppression of freedom of expression and association, arbitrary arrests, torture, detentions and disappearances. Many of these grave human rights violations were documented last fall by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights," the minister stressed.
Freeland also called on Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian political prisoners. "We call for the release of all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, including Oleg Sentsov, who have been removed to Russia and sentenced by courts whose jurisdiction in Crimea we do not recognize," she said.
According to Freeland, "Crimea’s rich cultural heritage has also been targeted by Russia, including through the mistreatment of the Crimean Tatar population and their historic sites.”
“Canada is steadfast in its support for the people of Ukraine. Together, the international community must maintain its pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia respects international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty," the Canadian Foreign Minister summed up.