Canada to send hundreds of observers to Ukraine presidential election
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 marieclaude 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.
Freeland, who is at Osce meetings in milan, said that canada is a steadfast partner of Ukraine, and that election missions are key to strengthening democratic institutions.
“canada’s commitment to democracy and the sovereignty of Ukraine is unwavering,” Freeland said in a statement.
The commander of the canadian army, lt.- Gen. Jean-marc lanthier, also just returned from a visit to Ukraine, which included time with canadian troops and meetings with multiple Ukrainian military leaders. canada wants to help Ukraine “maintain its sovereignty, security and stability,” the department of National defence said of the trip.
a senior official said the number of election observers sent for the march election will depend on what the Osce asks for.
The Osce monitoring missions are widely considered the gold standard in international election monitoring. They include contributions from multiple countries.