Canada to send hun­dreds of ob­servers to Ukraine pres­i­den­tial elec­tion

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - 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 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.

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