Canada to send hob­servers to Ukraine

The Chatham Daily News - - NATIONAL NEWS - MIKE BLANCH­FIELD

OT­TAWA — Canada is plan­ning to send hun­dreds of elec­tion ob­servers to Ukraine to pre­vent Rus­sian med­dling in its March 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, The Cana­dian Press has learned.

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity, say as many as 500 mon­i­tors could be sent in mis­sions run by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co-op­er­a­tion in Europe as well as a sep­a­rate mis­sion or­ga­nized be­tween Ukraine and Canada.

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land and In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Marie-Claude Bibeau an­nounced a $24-mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion on Thurs­day to sup­port elec­toral re­forms, gen­der equal­ity and in­clu­sive gover­nance in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s am­bas­sador to Canada said re­cently that his coun­try is con­vinced it will face Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial bal­lot.

An­driy Shevchenko also says the re­cent Rus­sian seizure of three Ukrainian ships and their two dozen sailors in the Kerch Strait last month is an­other at­tempt to desta­bi­lize Ukraine ahead of the elec­tion.

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