CG4DU | 15May2018 | Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine
[email protected]

Letter to Justin Trudeau re G7 Summit

May 15, 2018

Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Via email: [email protected]

Dear Prime Minister,

We are grateful for Canada’s unwavering support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  On April 17, 2018, we wrote a letter to Minister Chrystia Freeland thanking Canada for its efforts and raised several concerns to be addressed at the G7 foreign ministers’ gathering.  Therefore, we are very pleased that sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s Russia for its violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are continuing, and that support will be provided to Ukraine in its battle against corruption.

Regarding sanctions, however, we remain concerned that Canada’s are not at the level of other western democracies, specifically those of the United States and the United Kingdom.  Unlike them, Canada has not sanctioned oligarchs like Ihor Sechin and Oleh Derepaska.  Such lack of harmonization undermines a united effort to pressure Russia to remove its military from Ukraine’s territory.  It nurtures criminality and a sense of invulnerability in Russia’s leadership: President Putin mocked recently that he is not on the list.

Of great importance to Canada, such omissions undermine our singular strength: doing the right thing and taking the higher moral ground in international affairs.  Failure to maintain this high standard in dealing with Russia diminishes our stature in the world and our influence.

We, therefore, request that ahead of the Summit, Canada raise its sanctions to match those of the US and UK.  We must ensure that violators are prevented from entering Canada, doing business here, or sheltering their assets. We seek more: Those listed must disclose their Canadian property assets and, if appropriate, have them frozen.

We bring forward two other matters of critical importance for your consideration. 

Of primary concern is a looming environmental disaster in the Donbas region directly attributable to Russia's war in Ukraine.  No amount of deception and brazen lies emanating from the Kremlin can conceal its increasingly large number of heavy weapons brought into the occupied areas. They are prohibited by the Minsk agreements and their withdrawal has been stipulated to reduce the risk of violent escalation.  The grave environmental danger lies in the high risk of chemical contamination of the water supply for hundreds of thousand civilians. An estimated 100,000 children living near the line of contact--an OSCE figure -- face the horror of being poisoned.  We view this as a potentially premeditated genocide.

We ask that Canada work with other G7 countries for the immediate removal by Russia of these proscribed weapons from Eastern Ukraine and that Canada support deployment of international environmental experts to deal with the potential chemical disaster.

Secondly, we wish to underscore the humanitarian issue of Ukraine’s political prisoners held in occupied Crimea and in Russia. 

Filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and Crimean Tatar Ruslan Zeytullaev exemplify the many imprisoned on trumped up charges and illegally moved to Russia’s Arctic region.  Such tactics indicate that Russia’s authorities want to inflict maximum torture without any oversight and maximum psychological stress by cutting them off from family and media exposure. 

We therefore ask that Canada take a commanding lead and with other G7 members seek the release of some 70 unjustifiably incarcerated Ukrainian political prisoners.

One way of putting immediate pressure on Russia to avert the looming environmental catastrophe and stop the barbaric treatment of political prisoners is to state that unless this is done, Canada and other G7 members will boycott the World Cup in July.

Prime Minister, Russia’s disregard for international law under President Putin is a grave danger to global peace and security.  We are hopeful that Canada can help make the world a safer place by addressing our concerns.  Your leadership to this end at the G7 Summit is invaluable. 

With warmest regards,

Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Dr. Ihor Cap
Roman Hruby
Dr. Roman Jakubow
Vicki Karpiak
Myroslava Oleksiuk
Marta Onufriv
Stephanie Savyn
Oksana Shmigelsky


Hon. Chrystia Freeland                                                    Helene Laverdiere, MP
Peter Boehm, DM for G7 Summit                                    Randall Garrison, MP
Ian Shugart DM, Global Affairs                                        Pierre Paul-Hus, MP
Stefanie Beck, ADM, Europe Middle East & Maghreb    Mathew Dube, MP
Leigh Sarty, DG, European Affairs                                   Borys Wrzesnewskyj MP
Dalia Stein, Director G7, Operations                                Senator Raynell Andreychuk
Kevin Rex, Director Eastern Europe Div.                         Ambassador Roman Waschuk
Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, MP                                          Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko
Hon. Ralph Goodale MP                                                James Temerty C.M.
Hon. Andrew Scheer, MP                                              Paul Grod, UCC
Jagmeet Singh, Leader NDP                                           Eugene Czolij, UWC
Hon. Erin O’Toole, MP                                                  Ihor Mychalchyshyn,UCC
James Bezan MP