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Champagne heads to Ukraine to discuss Iran crash, meet troops in Latvia

Foreign Affairs Minister Fran?ois-Philippe Champagne responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is headed to eastern Europe next week, where he will meet Ukrainian airline officials and politicians, and visit Canada’s NATO military mission in Latvia.

Champagne says he will be discussing the ongoing efforts to press Iran for financial compensation for its shooting down of a Ukraine International Airlines jetliner near Tehran last month.

Iran’s military fired two missiles at Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing all 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians, as well as citizens of Britain, Sweden, Afghanistan and Ukraine.  

In Latvia, Champagne will also visit the 600 Canadian troops who have been leading a NATO battlegroup in that country since 2017.

The battlegroup, which includes soldiers from several other countries, is one of four such forces in the Baltics and Poland that were established to respond to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

Champagne will also visit Poland, which is also a member of the 29-country NATO alliance.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press