James Bezan, Official Opposition Critic for National Defence and Peter Kent, Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs issued the following statement regarding the election results held in the illegally occupied territory of Crimea. “On September 18th ‘elections’ were held in the illegally Russian occupied territory of Crimea. We call on the Trudeau government to denounce the elections and not recognize the results. Elections following a military invasion and illegal occupation are in no way reflective of Canadian principles of human rights, freedom, respect for the rule of law and democracy. “In 2014, Prime Minster Stephen Harper boldly denounced the so called ‘referendum’ in Crimea as illegitimate and refused to recognize its outcome. Mr. Harper stated, “the so-called referendum was conducted with Crimea under illegal military occupation. Its results are a reflection of nothing more than Russian military control.” The circumstances surrounding the September 18th elections are no different. “The previous Conservative government played a central role in providing democracy and good governance in Ukraine. We granted funding to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to provide training to Ukrainian legal officials to increase the protection of human rights of Ukrainian citizens in the courts. Canada also helped the supply OSCE with personnel and resources to assist international observers to monitor the war in Donbas. The Conservatives also sent multiple delegations of election observers to support transparency in the democratic process. “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is cause for concern. Russian president Vladimir Putin’s complete disregard for international law has proved that he is not a stable partner on the international stage. A strong, condemning voice coming from western democracies is necessary to curb these intolerant actions. “Russia continues to sponsor terrorist activities within Eastern Ukraine and is escalating the tempo of violence within Ukrainian borders. These actions have caused over ten thousand deaths and countless human rights violations. The Russian Federation will use these elections to bring a sense of legitimacy to their occupation. Canada must take a principled stance on the world stage and lead the charge on not recognizing the outcome of Russia’s fake Crimean elections.”