Canada Expels Russian Soldiers
As of the afternoon of March 6, all Russian soldiers involved in military operations in Canada had 24 hours to leave the country. Six were learning French, one was teaching Russian, and two more were participating in a training program.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper compared Russia to World War II Germany just a few days ago, and announced on Tuesday that all bilateral military activity would be suspended immediately (including the NORAD Exercise, “Vigilant Eagle,” a live-flight experiment designed to help Canada, the United States, and Russia coordinate in the event of an international flight hijacking). Canada intends to send an international military observer to Crimea, and freeze the funds of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s regime.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says of the referendum scheduled in the Crimea on March 16, “you can’t have a valid referendum in 10 days. It’s unacceptable and it’s wrong and we won’t recognize it.” Crimean lawmakers voted unanimously to join Russia, but are waiting to have voters weigh in.
Canada is reconsidering its participation in a joint economic commission with Russia, and has started talking about financial aid packages for Ukraine. Stephen Harper claimed that all G8 nations have stopped preparing for a meeting that was supposed to take place at Sochi in June.
Sources: CTV News.