Harper blasts Crimea referendum, protesters express solidarity with Ukraine
Canada has denounced the controversial referendum in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula on Sunday that showed overwhelming support to split off and join Russia, saying it would lead to further isolation of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
“The so-called referendum held today was conducted with Crimea under illegal military occupation. Its results are a reflection of nothing more than Russian military control,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.
“This ‘referendum’ is illegitimate, it has no legal effect, and we do not recognize its outcome,” the prime minister said, adding Canada is working with other countries on the possibility of further sanctions.
“Any solution to this crisis must respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine as well as the constitution of Ukraine. Mr. Putin’s reckless and unilateral actions will lead only to Russia’s further economic and political isolation from the international community.”
Earlier Sunday, protesters in at least two Canadian cities joined the international condemnation against the ballot.
Some protesters applauded Harper’s decision to travel to Ukraine this Friday to show support for the temporary government in the face of Russian aggression in the strategic Black Sea region.
“This is an already an important symbolic visit showing support to the Ukrainians,” said Lada Roslycky, a human rights campaigner who organized an Ottawa protest across the street from the Russian embassy.
About 100 protesters staged a mock referendum outside the heavily-guarded embassy. They brandished signs that denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin as organizers passed out fake cash, and urged mock voters to vote as often as they liked for either of two options to cede from Russia — yes and yes — as demonstrators in military garb stood over a fake ballot box. (Continued: CBC News)
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