Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement after the close of voting in the presidential elections in Ukraine:
“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to extend my congratulations to the citizens of Ukraine who peacefully exercised their sovereign right to vote during this critical phase in their country’s democratic history. Canada looks forward to the official announcement of the elections’ final results.
“The long lines of people who came out to vote in these elections are an undeniable affirmation of how deeply Ukrainians value freedom and democracy, and demonstrate a clear commitment to building a better future, free from Russian-sponsored subversion and violence. Canada will continue to work with the Ukraine government to help restore the country’s economic and political stability.
“These elections were not without their challenges. Pro-Russian separatists and their supporters tried, unsuccessfully, to use violence and intimidation as a political strategy to prevent them from taking place in certain parts of Eastern Ukraine. We condemn these actions and call on all parties to respect the electoral process and refrain from further violence, particularly during this crucial period while results are being processed.
“Canada has a long and proud history of providing election observers to ensure that elections are consistent with international democratic standards. To that end, Canada is pleased to have contributed to efforts in support of democracy, which included sending hundreds of Canadian observers to monitor and report on Ukraine’s presidential election.”