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Canada-Ukraine collaboration

Hon. Harjit Sajjan
Minister of National Defence (Canada)
via Email: Harjit.Sajjan@parl.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Sajjan:

I was very favourably impressed with your article in the 20 February 2017 issue of the Ukrainian Voice, in which you summarize your recent activities on behalf of Canada’s armed forces and National Defence. Of particular interest to me was your brief reference to Canada’s leadership role in the forthcoming NATO-sponsored mission to Latvia and your strategy to strengthen Canada’s Naval Forces by energizing our ship-building industry.

As a Canadian of Ukrainian ethnic origin with friends and relatives in Ukraine, I am particularly concerned by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine initiated in February 2014. This occupation and conflict with many casualties continues to this day. Vladimir Putin has threatened a full scale invasion and is openly trying to destabilize the European Union and destroy its relationship with NATO, the United States and Canada. Therefore, I very much appreciate Operation UNIFIER, the joint Canada-Ukraine military training mission, that has already provided long-term benefits to both Ukraine and Canada, and fervently hope that it will be extended throughout 2017 and beyond.

As a citizen of Canada “the True North strong and free”, I am also concerned about Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, which has been threatened by Russia in the past and is almost certain to re-occur with increased intensity in the future. In my opinion, this requires a strong Canadian naval presence in the Arctic Ocean -- both military and commercial, including nuclear-powered icebreakers. I am sure that Canada’s ship-building industry in Vancouver and Halifax could rise to the challenge. Furthermore, the recently-signed Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) may present an opportunity for fruitful collaboration with the Mykolaiv Shipyards in Ukraine.

In conclusion, I salute your strong leadership to enhance Canada’s sovereignty and security; as well as fulfilling our commitment to NATO. May I wish you every success.

Yours very sincerely,
William Zuzak, Ph.D., P.Eng. (retired); 2017.02.24

CC:
Justin Trudeau -- justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Rona Ambrose -- rona.ambrose@parl.gc.ca
Thomas Mulcair -- thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca
Elizabeth May -- elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca
Real Fortin -- rheal.fortin@parl.gc.ca
Ukrainian Voice -- presstr@mts.net
Ukrainian News -- ukrnews@shaw.ca