Loading articles...

Canada to send hundreds of observers to Ukraine presidential election

Ukrainian ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko appears at a House of Commons defence committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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

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 are announcing the $24-million contribution that will also support electoral reforms, gender equality and inclusive governance in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada told The Canadian Press 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 electoral observation missions are key to strengthening democratic institutions.

The Canadian Press