Moscow’s bombing and invasion of Ukraine must be condemned by all those who believe in a rules-based international order and peaceful solutions to world problems. Hopefully Russian internationalists can come together to create a peace movement powerful enough to pressure their government.

While criticizing Russian imperialism, however, we shouldn’t lose sight of Canada’s significant role in stoking the divisions within Ukraine that have contributed to today’s crisis. Non-interference in other countries’ affairs is also an important principle of international law.

Yet Ottawa has long sought to destabilize the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. In 2014 Ottawa actively assisted the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych who was oscillating between the European Union and Russia.

The coup divided the Ukraine politically, geographically and linguistically (Russian is the mother tongue of 30% of Ukrainians and as much as 75% of those in eastern cities). The largely Russian-speaking east protested the ouster of Yanukovych, who was from the region. Many opposed the post-coup right-wing nationalist government, which immediately eliminated Russian as an official language. After a referendum and fighting, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics were proclaimed in the eastern Donbas region, which Moscow recognized as independent on Monday.

Canada assisted pro-European Union, often far right, protesters that rallied in central Kyiv’s Maidan square from November 21, 2013, to February 22, 2014. Ottawa also quickly recognized the post-coup government despite having sent election observers to monitor the 2010 presidential and 2012 parliamentary elections, which were won by Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. As revealed in a leaked tape between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, US officials midwifed Yanukovych’s unconstitutional replacement.

Canada funded groups behind the EuroMaidan protests. Ottawa and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have ploughed significant resources into anti-Russian, nationalist, elements of Ukrainian civil society since before the 2004 Orange Revolution…

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