15:05 Oct. 4, 2016
A senior Ukrainian envoy is warning a thaw in diplomatic relations between Canada and Russia will primarily benefit Vladimir Putin – a caution that came as relations abruptly deteriorated between Moscow and Washington on Monday over Syria and nuclear arsenals.
Vadym Prystaiko, deputy foreign minister of Ukraine, is visiting Ottawa this week to discuss the future of his country, where Russia has controlled the Crimean peninsula since 2014, and bankrolls pro-Moscow militants that have destabilized eastern Ukraine.
Mr. Prystaiko, a former Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, said Kiev is grateful for all Canadians have done for his country, but is not happy to see the Trudeau government resume co-operation with Russia over the Arctic.
Canada and Russia are members of the Arctic Council, but the former Conservative government suspended all but low-level discussions with Moscow after the country annexed Crimea.
The Liberals announced last week that Canada and Russia will host an Arctic conference in Ottawa in November, saying shunning Moscow was "irrational" and illogical given that "between us we control 75 per cent of the North." Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion says Canada will continue to voice "profound disagreement" over Russia's conduct in Ukraine, noting Ottawa has increased sanctions on Moscow since the Liberals took power.