Canada's Foreign Policy - Ukraine

What happened with this event/agreement?

Unfortunately, despite all of the advancements that have been made in modern society, wars sadly remain as a very normal part of human nature and are far too easily accepted in today’s world. In fact, it is not only a 21st century issue, because they have been occurring for a very long time. To be involved and to be successful in these deadly and cruel battles, certain aspects and tools become extremely necessary and valuable, such as highly sophisticated intelligence, proper strategically designed tactics, highly powerful ammunition and dedicated soldiers. The cost of war is always high and even though many try and make it seem like wars are often about a lack of justice, equality, and poor governance, and that the parties involved simply want the best for the innocent civilians of the region and care about keeping the peace and helping people, the truth is that in many cases, the main focal point becomes centered eventually on resources and money. In this particular case, this event mainly involves the Canadian, Ukrainian and Russian governments. Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is a very recent event, and has been going on for quite some time now. This incident involves Russian President, Vladimir Putin, deploying Russian soldiers across the border and into their neighbouring nation, Ukraine. Russia stated that this event was indeed “by accident” and used that as an excuse. Conversely, the Canadian wing of NATO’s Twitter account decided to poke fun at this awful excuse, and posted a photo of a map, which included Russia marked as “Russia” and Ukraine marked as “Not Russia” and captioned it as “Geography can be tough. Here's a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & 'accidentally' entering #Ukraine’”.

By taking this course of action, they are illustrating that the Russian government and its armed forces have been illegally invading Ukraine for quite some time and that it needs to stop immediately. The Government of Canada has condemned Russia’s actions on numerous occasions, and this was an interesting way for Canada to send its message to Russia, as it was done in a more light-hearted manner, although the sincerity and severity of its message remained intact. Despite having highlighted this in a more humorous way, those who support President Poroshenko’s government (or who prefer Ukraine maintaining its sovereignty), and most anti-Putin supporters viewed this move as a major step forward and were thoroughly delighted with the tweet’s positive impact on a global scale. Later on, the “Russians at NATO” Twitter account responded cheekily by posting another similar map as the Canadians had published, except it had one major difference – it had marked Ukraine as “Russia”. This was a bold move by Russia, as it demonstrated their confidence and arrogance with regards to their invasion and capture of Crimea.

How did Canada get involved in this event/agreement?

Russia began sending troops to Ukraine in February 2014, and this act was viewed as being extremely aggressive, dangerous, and disrespectful toward Ukraine as a nation, and its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Eventually, Canada and other western world powers started to take decisive steps and actions to resolve this severe problem. With Canada and many western powers (such as the United States of America, England, and France) having strained relationship with the Putin regime, and with tons of behind the scenes geopolitical battles occurring between Russia and the west, Canada quickly began supporting Ukraine during this rough and chaotic period. Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea drew international attention rapidly, and many pro-Ukraine supporters and world leaders opted to immediately take steps in an attempt to rectify this situation. Canada was one of these nations, and the Harper administration wholly backed Poroshenko’s government. In this particular case, the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) suspended its cooperation (which began in 1991) with Russia due to their illegal actions in Ukraine. After Russian troops moved into Crimea to annex the territory that they claim is historically Russian, NATO members started to get involved, therefore drawing Canada into this conflict.

What were Canada’s interests in this event/agreement and why is this event significant for Canada?

In this particular case, Canada’s interests were purely for the short and long term prosperity of Ukraine and were against Russia’s illegal acts. The improvement and tightening of relations seems to be the main goal and primary objective, which will help improve Canada’s relations on an international level. In political events, many things happen that don’t meet the eyes of every regular citizen. In various cases, different sorts of things are expected in return. This concept is known as quid pro quo (do something and get a favour in return). Canada has provided tons of foreign aid to Ukraine, and in addition, has placed hefty sanction against Russia in order to try and hurt Russia’s economy, while also demonstrating its unwavering support for Ukraine. By providing Ukraine with foreign ad, Canada is not only assisting the people of Ukraine who have had their lives torn apart during this ongoing conflict, but Canada is further demonstrating that it condemns Russia’s actions. Additionally, Canada is building a strong relationship with Ukraine’s government, and is strengthening and improving the ties between the two nations. In a geopolitical sense, Canada will also potentially gain the trust of Poroshenko’s government, and in the future, may be able to influence Ukraine’s foreign affairs in a way that could benefit Canada’s interests as well. Since Canada’s rapprochement with Poroshenko’s government has intensified, Ukraine has drifted further and further away from Russian influence. This is very significant for Canada, because it is building and developing ties with a country that previously was heavily influenced by Russia. In many ways, this can be regarded as an initial step forward, and can be regarded as progress and a victory over Putin’s administration, because Canada and other western powers will now be influencing the state of affairs in Ukraine, rather than Russia. But, Russia can also claim that despite seeing Ukraine drift away from its grasp, it managed to invade and take control of Crimea, despite facing worldwide condemnation from the western powers. This can be looked upon as a triumphant moment for Russia as well. Evidently, there are many angles that this conflict can be analyzed and evaluated, but Canada’s role in this war is rather significant, and while the Canadian government did not deploy any troops or military artillery to directly combat Russia’s presence in Crimea, it has provided the Ukrainian armed forces with plenty of resources, assistance, and weapons. By developing a good relationship with Ukraine and being able to influence its government, Canada can benefit economically as well, as it will be able to trade and participate in a different market with a different partner in the long term future. It is always dangerous for western powers to be involved in a war against Russia, because the United States of America and Russia are arguably the world’s strongest and most powerful nations. As a result, the unlikely potential for another devastating world war always remains possible during these uncertain times, simply because two of the world’s superpowers are butting heads once again, albeit not head-to-head.

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