Canada Slams Door on Top Ukrainian Government Officials

Ukraine Protest in Canada

Protests in front of Ukrainian Consulate in Toronto on Dec 8, 2013.

Canada’s immigration department recently lashed out at Ukrainian government officials and confirmed that they were, at least for now, not welcome in Canada.

“Recent actions by members of Ukraine’s ruling elite in the face of popular and growing protests have been utterly deplorable, and compel us to take targeted and meaningful action,” Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) Minister Chris Alexander said. “Given the violent repression of legitimate protest and the intimidation of opposition voices, we will be restricting entry to Canada – effective immediately – for key government figures as a direct result of their actions in recent days.”

The move by the Canadian government to bar top Ukrainian government officials comes in the wake of several weeks of violent protests against the government in the Ukraine.

Opposition leaders and their supporters in the Ukraine have received widespread support from Western governments—including the United States and Canada—and are now demanding a return to an earlier constitution that would limit the powers of the Ukrainian president, and move greater control over to the country’s parliament.

At least six people were murdered in Ukrainian protests held during December. But Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich had initially taken a hard line against protesters, following mass protests that erupted over his November decision to decline a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

For his part, Alexander said that while the Canadian government “welcomes recent developments in the Ukraine,” the Ukrainian government has yet to “address the fundamental demands of the people, including accountability and a full embrace of democratic principles.”

Alexander also left open the possibility that, unless the Ukrainian government moves closer to those democratic principles the Canadian government, along its international partners, will consider other options, if it comes to that.