CG4DU | 22Jun2016 | Oksana Bashuk Hepburn

NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8/9 July 2016

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Parliament Hill
Ottawa, ON
[email protected]
Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to seek Canada’s strong intervention at the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw that you will be attending. The members will be addressing the changing reality for peace and security. This letter focuses on Russia’s aggression and the absolute need to assist Ukraine because of its strategic importance in the defence of Europe. We strongly urge that Canada take a major leadership role at the meeting and we call for enhanced defence capabilities for Ukraine and for a Canadian-led initiative within NATO.

We applaud NATO’s efforts to bolster its European members’ defence and expand initiatives with Ukraine. Yet, we are forced to stress that Russia's two-year war of aggression in Ukraine shows no signs of abating. Ukraine is today’s bulwark against President Vladimir Putin’s global criminality. It is, therefore, mandatory to assist Ukraine in more direct and meaningful ways, not only for its own sake, but also for the protection of NATO members.

Ukraine was and is a peaceful neighbour of NATO and other EU states. It seeks normal, pacific relations with all neighbours. Yet Russia chose to attack Ukraine in an effort to change European borders by force. There can be no illusions that the peace and security of the European continent are under direct threat from Russia: NATO membership is the deterrent.

It has been touted -- particularly by those on the political left -- that NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe precipitated president Putin’s aggression. The facts do not bear this out. At the 2008 NATO Summit Ukraine and Georgia were denied the NATO Membership Action Plan due to Russia’s pressure. Despite the concession Russia invaded Georgia and a few years later -- without further NATO enlargement -- proceeded to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity. It is abundantly clear that for Russia it is not NATO’s strength that provokes; rather the perception of any weakness or the lack of determination to deal with Russia’s illegal annexations and wars.

Russia’s national security strategy, signed by president Putin January 1, 2016 designates NATO’s defensive posture as a threat to Russia’s security. Its damaging propaganda does the rest. Russia’s Levada Centre’s June report finds that Russians consider the USA -- the key military player in NATO -- their number one enemy, while Ukraine -- defending its sovereignty against Russia’s military might -- is number two.

Prime Minister, Ukraine may not be a member of NATO but Russia’s invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and further incursion into the Donbas is a de facto NATO Article 5 situation.

Russia has shown over and over again that it holds to the old Soviet adage that promises are made to be broken. It is not to be trusted. It has violated international agreements including the Budapest Memorandum and Minsk Agreements. In Syria, Russia aggressively pursues goals at odds with its undertakings and allied security interests. Its hate propaganda means to split NATO and undermine Europe’s resolve.

There is no time to waste: NATO must develop a robust strategy to strengthen its position vis--vis Russia globally. Bolstering Ukraine to protect it for its own sake and to protect Europe is uppermost.

It is therefore mandatory for NATO to strengthen Ukraine’s defense of its territory. We ask Canada to speak forcefully to this objective as we are certain that our views are in keeping with a free, secure and stable world.

The task of addressing global peace and security by dealing with Russia’s invasion in Ukraine may not have adequate time at the Summit. We, therefore ask you, Prime Minister, to bring forward a proposal: that the Summit establish a task-force, under Canada’s lead, to enhance and expand a comprehensive defence strategy for Ukraine to include

** increasing the training for its defence forces,
** training its senior-level officers on issues such as the Law of Armed Conflict, the Ethics of War, and strategic questions of combat,
** providing defensive equipment -- most importantly, anti-tank, anti-artillery and surveillance systems, and
** developing a concrete path to its membership in NATO.

We thank you again for working to ensure Canada’s enduring friendship with a free Ukraine by taking our concerns and proposal seriously into account. We will be following the Summit and your visit to Ukraine with the greatest of interest.

Warmest regards,

Oksana Bashuk Hepburn               Hon David Kilgour
Ihor Cap                                        Orysia Komarynsky
Walter Derzko                               Myroslva Oleksiuk
Roman Jakubow                            Marta Onufriv
Vicki Karpiak                                Pavlo Sugolov

Hon.Stephane Dion, MP
Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, MP
Hon. Rona Ambrose, MP
Hon. Thomas Mulcair, MP
Hon. Ralph Goodale, MP
Hon. John McCallum, MP
Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, MP
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, MP
Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, MP
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP
James Bezan, MP
Terry Duguid, M.P
Linda Duncan, M.P.
Julie Dzerowicz, M.P.
James Maloney, M.P.
Arif Virani, M.P
Senator Raynell Andreychuk
Ambassador Roman Waschuk
Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko
Ambassador Kerry Buck
Vice-Admiral Bob Davidson
Marvin Hildebrand
James Temerty
Paul Grod
Eugene Czolij

The Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine is dedicated to the furthering of democracy in Ukraine